Business Bureau, Gulf Today
The UAE also improved on the innovation output sub-index, ranking 55th, a 3-rank increase from its rank in 2019.
The UAE maintains its global high-standing in this year’s edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) as it ranked number one in the Arab World for the fifth consecutive year and improved to 34th globally in the 2020 edition of the report.
The country ranked 22nd on the innovation input sub-index, a 2-rank increase from 2019, and surpassing countries such as Iceland, Luxembourg, China, Spain and Russia. The UAE also improved on the innovation output sub-index, ranking 55th, a 3-rank increase from its rank in 2019.
The positive positioning across these indices reflects the significant improvements and high performances in pillars such as Human Capital & Research, Infrastructure, Business Sophistication, and Creative Outputs. For example, these pillars include gains in indicators such as R&D expenditures, ICT access and use indices, knowledge-intensive employment, patent families, high-tech imports, the percentage of research talent in business enterprises, and creative goods exports. Additionally, the UAE has achieved a positive position on the new “Global Brand value” indicator, under the creative outputs pillar, where it ranked 16th globally.
The Global Innovation Index report annually ranks countries based on their capacity to innovate. This year’s version of the report measured the performance of 131 countries and economies representing 99 per cent of global GDP, with a focus on understanding “who will finance innovation?”. The theme is especially relevant this year as the global depression triggered by Covid-19 has curtailed financing option for entrepreneurs and innovators. And it is precisely during such disruptive periods that society is most in need of social and technological innovations to help the economy recover and transition to a more-resilient outcome.
The GII is also recognised as one of several key indices under the UAE National Agenda’s ‘Competitive Knowledge-based Economy’ pillar, which is overseen by the Ministry of Economy in partnership with several private and public entities including the Ministry of Education, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, the Ministry of Finance, the Securities and Commodities Authority, and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, among others.
Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said, “The UAE’s continued improved performance in the Global Innovation Index is a result of a long-term vision adopted by the country over the past years, under the guidance of wise leadership, which resulted in concerted efforts at the federal and local level as well as close collaboration of the public, private, and academic sectors to consolidate the culture of creativity and innovation in the UAE. This will form a basis and engine for building a society that believes in a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and for the development of a diversified, competitive and sustainable economy based on knowledge and innovation.”
He pointed out that “this result today gives us more confidence to enhance our innovative performance in order to achieve the UAE vision 2021 and to the future development goals outlined by the UAE Centennial 2071, making sure that the UAE becomes a regional and international innovation hub.”
He further added that “Today we have an advanced innovation-incubating environment, achieved by pioneering legislation and institutional development. Our efforts to promote innovation further will continue in the long-term and today, in light of the changes posed by and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of these efforts has increased. Innovation will play a fundamental role in accelerating the wheel of growth and overcoming various economic challenges. The Ministry of Economy is working today, in cooperation with its partners, to implement a flexible package and a general plan of 33 initiatives to support various economic sectors. This is an integrated plan whose objectives are not limited to supporting economic activities and businesses, but through which we will work to build a more flexible and innovative economic model and to launch a long-term development path for the UAE economy.”
Dr Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises and the Minister in charge of Tourism, said: “SMEs play a pivotal role in developing an innovative environment as they are the engines of sustainable and knowledge-based economic growth. The UAE’s GII 2020 positive performance reflects the government’s efforts to enhance the innovation ecosystem, improve intellectual property management, and increase investment in innovative projects, among other initiatives carried out in the last year. However, in the coming phase, the Ministry of Economy and its partners will work on launching a new phase of initiatives to increase SME capabilities, enable national entrepreneurship, and encourage start-ups and businesses operating in innovation and technology related sectors. Our plans also include stimulating the application of innovation in vital sectors such as tourism in efforts to increase the sectors’ competitiveness, develop its services, and enhance its contribution to the UAE’s gross domestic product. All these efforts will provide a strong foundations for the UAE’s future economy.”
Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, in his capacity at the Ministry of Economy as Minister of State for Foreign Trade and the Minister responsible for retaining and attracting talent, said: “Foreign trade and investment are pivotal factors in fostering global innovation as trade of creative goods and high-tech products, investment growth in value-added projects, and the cross-border implementation of research and development projects all contribute to the knowledge base of the economy, consistently generating new and innovative ideas. The Ministry of Economy, along with its partners, has long been working on improving all three of these elements within the UAE.”