Belarus in the Knowledge Economy Index and Knowledge Index

The knowledge-based economy (or knowledge economy) is usually defined as an economy in which technologies and in particular rapid development and dissemination of information and communication technologies play the leading role. It is considered that in modern economies of industrialized countries the balance has shifted from development of resources to generation of knowledge. There are four main factors of the knowledge-based economy:

1) rapid development of ICT,
2) acceleration of technological progress,
3) global competition,
4) evolution of consumers’ preferences.

Thus, the knowledge is intended not for developing the high-tech products but for using it in maximum possible sectors of economy. It is quite logical that the developing of knowledge-based economies has come to a need to measure its performance and compare them. This challenge is solved with the help of the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI), the annual research initiated by the World Bank.

The KEI is a complex index characterizing the level of knowledge economy development in countries and regions of the world. The KEI research is carried out as part of the research program titled Knowledge for Development (K4D). According to the World Bank experts, government can use the KEI to analyze the performance of its policies and measure the readiness of a country to move towards the new economic model based on the knowledge.

The KEI includes the Knowledge Index (KI) which is a complex index evaluating country’s capabilities to create, accept and disseminate the knowledge. The KI shows potential of a country or region in the knowledge economy.

The KEI and KI are based on the Knowledge Assessment Methodology (KAM) developed by the World Bank. The KAM estimates the knowledge economy of a country by 148 variables combined into 7 clusters:

1. Overall performance of the economy,
2. Economy regime,
3. Governance,
4. Innovation system,
5. Education,
6. Labor,
7. ICT.

However, the researchers of the World Bank use only 12 crucial variables to calculate the KEI and KI in order to avoid congestion. Thus, the KEI includes 4 balanced sub-indices all of which is an average of 3 variables normalized from 0 to 10. In turn, the KI is an average of first three sub-indices.

1) Economic and Institution Regime Sub-index:

· Tariff and non-tariff barriers,

· Regulatory quality,

· Rule of law.
2) Education Sub-index:

· Average ears if schooling,

· Secondary enrollment,

· Tertiary enrolment.

3) Innovation Sub-index:

· Royalty payments and receipts ($ mill. per 1 mill. population),

· Patent count (USPTO patents, average for last five year per 1 mill. population),

· Journal articles (scientific and engineering articles published in physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, clinical medicine, biomedical research, engineering and technology, and earth and space sciences per 1 mill. population).

4) ICT Sub-index:

· Telephones (mobile and fixed lines per 1,000 people),

· Computers (per 1,000 people),

· Internet users (per 10,000 people).

The following databases are used as main source of data: The World Bank’s Governance Indicators, USPTO Statistics, The World Bank's internal database Development Data Platform, ITU Statistics. In some cases national statistics is used as well.

In 2012, the first places in the rating are occupied by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. Russia is on the 55th place, Ukraine – 56th, Kazakhstan – 73rd. As for the Republic of Belarus, it is ranked the 59th (KEI – 5.59, KI – 6.62). Comparing to the last years, Belarus improved its position as much as 11 points (generally, due to Innovation Sub-index and ICT Sub-index) and has entered into the top 10 of most dynamic knowledge economies. The weakest Belarus sub-index is the Economic and Institution Regime one (see the table).


Information is developed by the Department of External Economic, Innovation and Science and Technology Cooperation and Investments, BelISA on the basis of the Knowledge Assessment Methodology 2012,


  • BelISA
  • IncrEAST