UAE ranked 1st in MENA region and 35th worldwide in Global Innovation Index 2017

The UAE has improved its standing in the 2017 Global Innovation Index, GII, topping all Arab countries and ranking 35th globally to improve six places from last year’s 41st position cementing its status as one of the world’s most innovative countries.

The results of the index were officially announced during a press conference held on 15th June at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland which was attended by Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva.

It affirmed the UAE’s significant progress in several pillars, the most prominent of which are 'human capital and research' as well as 'creative outputs'.

This year’s 10th Global Innovation Index measured the innovation-related performance of 127 countries and economies representing 92.5 percent of the total world population and the vast proportion of global GDP.

It relied on detailed measures of innovation inputs and outputs, including 81 indicators providing comprehensive insights on the various areas of innovation, most notably institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.

The UAE achieved a 6 rank increase in 2017, up from 41 in 2016 to reach 35 globally. Over the past two years, the UAE has exhibited a consistent performance by repeatedly ranking as number 1 in the Arab world.

This year, the UAE also experienced the highest surge among the top 40 most innovative countries with a 6-rank increase. This jump allowed the UAE to achieve the highest percentage increase in GII scores globally with a 10 percent increase in ranking scores.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said that the UAE's significant progress in the Global Innovation Index is the latest of the country’s successive achievements in various fields of development and global performance indices, which he said contributes in enhancing the UAE’s outstanding position as a regional and global economic destination.

He added that the UAE has managed to maintain its lead among Middle Eastern and African countries in the field of innovation and has made significant progress in advancing its ranking among the fastest-growing innovation-driven countries.

The minister explained that the UAE’s success is largely due to the directives of the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to include innovation as a key pillar in all development policies and strategic plans adopted in various sectors.

"The favourable result reflects the effectiveness of efforts and initiatives undertaken by various relevant entities to enhance the UAE's ability to attract and retain outstanding talents and key investments to achieve the ambitious goal of transforming the UAE into a global innovation hub," Al Mansouri continued.

Over the period 2014-2016, the UAE displayed consistent performance in innovation inputs, ranking 25th. This year, the UAE improved even further achieving a rank of 23rd.

This improved performance ranking is mainly due to better human capital and research where the UAE ranked 22nd from 41st from the previous year's index, and market sophistication from 42nd to 33rd position.

The surge in the UAE’s score and rank is also the result of significant increases in creative, and knowledge and technology outputs, ranking globally at +23 and +15 respectively.

Commenting on the commendable results achieved by the UAE, Al Mansouri said that the outstanding performance reflected by the indicators of the Global Innovation Index affirms the success of policies and the efficiency of procedures adopted by the UAE to upgrade its innovation system. "This", he added, "realises UAE Vision 2021’s goal of building a competitive, diversified and knowledge-based economy supported by innovation and led by competent nationals."

The minister said that the UAE Government has made continuous and intensive efforts to spread the culture of innovation and consolidate its practices, as it will be the pillar of the national economy in the coming decades.

This, he explained, will form the basis of strategic economic partnerships in the UAE today.

He emphasised the UAE's keenness to cooperate with various countries in the region and in the world to promote and establish innovative practices further in developmental endeavours, particularly by sharing knowledge and best practices with government institutions and the private sector to achieve the desired progress in innovation regionally.

Al Mansouri also said that the UAE Government has exerted continuous and intensive efforts in the past few years to spread a culture of innovation and adopt its practices.

He pointed out that the National Innovation Strategy has been developed in an integrated manner through the creation of programmes, initiatives and frameworks aimed at cultivating an environment conducive to innovation and instilling innovative practices in government work.

"The close cooperation among the various government agencies and academic and private institutions has had the largest impact on the significant progress made by the UAE in the field of innovation," he concluded.