Qatar and The United Arab Emirates are leading the Middle East for the second year running in overall innovation, a report said which calibrated the performance of 141 economies around the world on the basis of their innovation capabilities and results.
The report, titled Global Innovation Index 2012 (GII): Stronger Innovation Linkages for Global Growth was published jointly by INSEAD, the leading international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a specialised United Nations agency. Alcatel-Lucent, Booz & Company, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), as well as an advisory board of eleven international experts also contributed the GII 2012 findings.
Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong (China), Ireland, and the United States of America are the top 10 performers on the Global Innovation Index.
The ranking was compiled by gauging the Innovation Input Sub-Index elements of the national economy which embodies innovative activities grouped in five pillars: (1) Institutions (2) Human capital and research (3) Infrastructure (4) Market sophistication and (5) Business sophistication. The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.
Fifteen economies were included from the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) on the GI Index, of which two Qatar (33rd) and the United Arab Emirates (37th) rank among the top 40. Similarly, the UAE (28th) and Qatar (30th) got the highest rank among MENA countries in the input sub-index and rank in the top 20 on several pillars.
Qatar, Jordan and the UAE lead the regional ranking in innovation outputs,with 41st place, 46th and 51st positions respectively. The report revealed that most MENA countries under-perform on the Innovation Efficiency Index, a measure calculated as the ratio of the output sub-index over the input sub-index, and shows how innovation inputs are best translated into innovation outputs. Jordan ranks highest in efficiency at position 21 followed by Kuwait in 54th place out of 141 countries.
The findings noted that examples from Jordan and the GCC demonstrate rising levels of innovation achievements in the MENA region thanks to improvements in institutional frameworks, skilled labour force (with an expanded tertiary education), and deeper integration of local and global investment and trade markets.
“The GII is a timely reminder that policies to promote innovation are critical to the debate on spurring sustainable economic growth,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said. “The downward pressure on investment in innovation exerted by the current crisis must be resisted. Otherwise we risk durable damage to countries? productive capacities. This is the time for forward-looking policies to lay the foundations for future prosperity.”
Qatar ranked 14th, 8th and 19th among 141 countries in terms of human capital and research, business sophistication and creative outputs respectively. Similarly, the UAE positioned itself on 17th, 16th and 20th in terms of infrastructure, business sophistication and creative outputs respectively.
Other MENA countries managed to secure high rankings in several pillars. Oman secured 33rd position in institutions while Saudi Arabia ranked 36th in market sophistication which is the first position in MENA. Similarly, Bahrain’s human capital and research ranked 18th, second only to Qatar in the region. Lebanon came first in MENA region in terms of knowledge and technology outputs, attaining 48th position overall.
The report also compared economies with others that are over-performing with similar income levels (as measured by GDP per capita in PPP$). Jordan was the top innovation learner while Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt achieved GII scores that correspond to their income levels, while the remaining countries in the region achieved positions below their potential.