UAE top slot in Mena for innovation readiness

Is the UAE's rank in the GII, ahead of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. (EB FILE)

The UAE leads the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in innovation, according to the 2009-2010 Global Innovation Index (GII) released yesterday by Insead, the leading international school of business.

The UAE has secured the 24th spot worldwide, while Iceland, Sweden and Hong Kong lead the rankings of the GII, jointly released by Insead and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). According to the report, UAE tops the Middle East list, followed by Kuwait and Qatar taking the top three spots in the Mena region.

"Among the best innovators from last year, USA (No11), UK (No14), Germany (No16) have fallen in ranks," the report said.

Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman of CII National Committee on Technology and Innovation, and Chairman and CEO of HCL Infosystems, said the report evaluates the progress of innovation readiness in countries, highlighting obstacles that prevent governments, businesses and individuals from fully capturing the benefits of innovation.

"The GII, featured in the report, examines how countries benefit through innovation through the use of 'enablers' that stimulate innovation and outputs. There are five enabler pillars – institutions, human capacity, general and ICT infrastructure, market sophistication and business sophistication – and two output pillars of scientific outputs and creative outputs and well-being," said Chowdhry.

This year's report, he said, underlines the importance of innovation in country competitiveness and growth, particularly at a time when the global economy is recovering from one of the worst financial crises witnessed in the past 50 years.

Commenting on the report, Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology at Insead and the architect of the study and its framework, said: "The results of this year's study re-emphasise the crucial need for countries to focus on directed pro-innovation policies to jumpstart growth in the medium term and lead to development in the long term."

In the 132 countries surveyed, the Mena region was well represented – a total of 15 countries made it to the report. The UAE has moved up two spots from last year's 26th, Kuwait ranked 33rd, Qatar 35th, Bahrain 40th and Saudi Arabia 54th.

The study has used a mixture of hard data collected by international organisations and the World Economic Forum.


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