UAE is the most innovative country in the Middle East, says new study

Author: PM Editorial | Date: 31 Aug 2016

Report stresses the importance of innovation as a force for economic growth

The UAE is the most innovative country in the Middle East, according to the pre-eminent study into the topic.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar follow in second and third place in the annual Global Innovation Index (GII) study carried out by Cornell University, the international business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

“The UAE has always been a keen supporter of innovation,” said the report. “Dubai, in particular, is looking towards technological innovation to meet its goal of becoming the smartest city in the world by 2017 […] investing in an array of smart service initiatives, including smart parking meters, smart energy meters and smart waste management.”

The report praised the Emirates for aiding collaboration among public and private organisations and “encouraging the entrepreneurial aspirations of both individual players and small, medium, and large businesses, which can play an increasing role in the national and global economy.

“In addition, the government has anticipated the positive impact of innovation; hence the UAE Vision 2021 national agenda takes on a global strategy to ensure that the country becomes a major contributor to innovation at an international level,” said the report.

Switzerland topped the overall international rankings for the fourth year in a row, based on seven categories: institutions; human capital and research; infrastructure; market sophistication; business sophistication; knowledge and technology outputs; and creative outputs. Each category then had a range of subcategories for which all the participating countries were given a ranking.

The UAE and Qatar were jointly ranked number one in the world for the ease of paying taxes, with Saudi Arabia just behind. The UAE also scored highly for the effectiveness of its government and its ICT infrastructure. However, it scored less favourably on the ease of accessing credit and the proportion of creative goods as a percentage of its overall exports.

“In today’s economic climate, innovation – technological innovation in particular – is considered to be a major force for economic growth,” said Osman Sultan, chief executive officer at telecoms operator du, in the report. “The convergence of data analytics, commerce, and technological progress is seen as a key driver of innovation in the global economy.”