UAE boosts its innovation standing by two

By DG Staff

1st among Arab states in 2020 Global Innovation Index

ABU DHABI 4 September 2020: The UAE maintained 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, said official news agency Wam.

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 percent 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 precise 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 calculated based on detailed measures of innovation inputs and outputs – consisting of 80 indicators that provide insights on the various areas of innovation. These cover seven pillars:

  1. institutions
  2. human capital & research
  3. infrastructure
  4. market sophistication
  5. business sophistication,
  6. knowledge & technology outputs, and
  7. creative outputs.

The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation inputs and outputs.

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.”

The Global Innovation Index is based on both innovation input and output sub-indices. Converting innovative inputs to higher innovative outputs is fundamental for improving the UAE’s performance. This is what the UAE has consistently achieved: Over the period 2015-2020, the UAE displayed a strong and steady performance in innovation inputs, ranking consistently in the top 25: 25th in the 2015-2016 years; 23rd in 2017 and 24th in the 2018-2019 years. This year, the UAE maintained this stronghold in inputs by ranking 22nd in 2020.

This position was achieved through better performance in the “Human Capital & Research” pillar with an increase from 18th to 17th, the “Infrastructure” pillar with an increase from 21st to 17th, the “Market Sophistication” pillar with an increase from the 34th to 30th, and the “Business Sophistication” pillar with an increase from 30th to the 22nd. On the output sub-index side, continuous increases were achieved in the “Creative Outputs” pillar. In fact, the UAE moved up 36 ranks, from 70th in 2016 to 34th in 2020, in this particular pillar.

Furthermore, the UAE has achieved global leadership by ranking among the top 10 countries in a number of indicators included in the Global Innovation Index 2020 report. It has ranked 1st globally on the indicators “cost of redundancy” and “tertiary education inbound mobility,” ranked 3rd globally on “research talent, % in business enterprises” indicator, ranked 5th globally on the “GERD financed by business” indicator, and ranked 8th globally on the indicators “State of cluster development” and “Creative goods export.”

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