RIYADH: The Kingdom, which has launched the ambitious Vision 2030 plan to reduce its dependence on oil, has scored high among the most innovative countries of the world.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the top five performers in the Northern Africa and Western Asia region, according to the latest report compiled jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), for the first time.
“Switzerland leads the 2016 rankings, the same position it had in 2015, while China joins the ranks of the world’s 25 most innovative economies,” said the report.
The UAE is at 41st position overall and Saudi Arabia at 49th. The report explains that many of the GCC countries are diversifying their economies following decades-long dependence on oil, turning their focus toward more innovation-driven and diverse sources of growth and overcoming relative shortcomings in areas such as institutions, market and business sophistication.
It is important to mention here that the Kingdom is moving forward steadily in terms of ranking among the most innovative countries. The international innovation index shows the growing Saudi capability on the scale of innovation.
Referring to the need of innovation for better life for mankind; the report said that Europe benefits from comparatively strong institutions and well-developed infrastructure.
“If you want to move to a country that is considered innovative, then Switzerland is the place to be, followed by Sweden, the UK and the US,” according to the report.
Following the top three are Finland in fifth position, Ireland seventh, Denmark eighth, the Netherlands ninth and Germany in the tenth position. “In the fourth place, the US continues to be one of the world’s most-innovative nations, with particular strengths including the presence of firms conducting global R&D, the sophistication of its financial market, quality of its universities and scientific publications and software spending and the state of its innovation clusters,” said the report.
About the innovation index of developing countries, the report said that “India is top in the central and southern Asia region, at 66 overall, showing particular strengths in tertiary education and R&D, including global R&D intensive firms, the quality of its universities and scientific publications, its market sophistication and ICT service exports where it ranks first in the world.” In South East Asia, Singapore tops the list, while it occupies sixth position in overall tally.

Moreover, the Kingdom has launched a National Science, Technology and Innovation Strategic Plan (NSTIP), which is among many other national plans followed in Saudi Arabia to shift its economy from oil based to knowledge based.
The NSTIP is mandated to direct science research and technology development in the Kingdom toward long-term development goals of the nation. The NSTIP also works closely with Saudi government agencies, especially with the education sector, to ensure that science and technology education programs are in line with science and technology national policy requirements. They both also help in developing programs and institutes for higher studies in applied scientific and technical fields.

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