The UAE maintained its top position as the most innovative country in the Arab world in 2019, while also improving its global ranking by two positions to 36th, according to the annual Global Innovation Index (GII) released on Wednesday.
The GCC’s second-largest economy has seen its ranking consistently rising over the past four years, moving 11 spots up from 47th in 2015 to 36th in 2019. It ranked 24th and 58th on the innovation input and output sub-indices, respectively.
The report found the UAE has the lowest cost of redundancy dismissal for the companies.
The GII ranked 129 countries based on their capacity to innovate; human capital and research; infrastructure; market sophistication; business sophistication; knowledge and technology outputs; and creative outputs.
The UAE’s ranking among key sub-indexes increased substantially in 2019. Its creative output index jumped 20 positions to 50th while human capital and research jumped 13 places to 18th this year.
The UAE is taking a number of initiatives such as establishing an intellectual property registration hub, promoting a unified network aimed at encouraging fundamental research collaboration between institutes and identifying, connecting and tracking innovation financing through enhancements in the venture capital ecosystem.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said the country’s innovation landscape is driven by strong partnerships between public, private and academic sectors.
“Newer initiatives will be rolled out with the chief goal of further expanding fundamental and applied research conducted in the country and linking it to robust financing mechanisms. In addition, the country is looking to enhance the knowledge economy by amplifying the number of intellectual property applications and registrations made inside the UAE through the attraction of foreign companies and the introduction of licences for IP holding companies.”
Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, stated that his ministry is aligning its efforts with the future plans of the state to achieve the targets set for innovation indicators.
“This will lead to enhanced competitiveness in an important and vital sector that is capable of both strengthening the UAE’s prosperity and paving the way for its rapid transition towards a sustainable knowledge economy,” he added.
Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said the focus is to ensure stability of the financial system along with developing an investment-friendly regulatory framework to enhance access to finance for the private sector and especially for SMEs and entrepreneurs.
Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-secretary at the Ministry of Finance, noted that the availability of adequate financing mechanisms is one of the most important contributors to the establishment of a successful innovation ecosystem at the national level.
“The Ministry of Finance is working alongside the National Agenda team to provide, enhance and sustain these financing mechanisms and to build a National network aimed at supporting fundamental research. The Ministry will continue to work alongside its various partners with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation through the provision of support and financing to National innovators,” he added.
Regionally, the UAE is followed by Kuwait,Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman and others.
Globally, Switzerland was rated the most innovative nation followed by Sweden, the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Finland, Denmark, Singapore and Germany.
Notable moves in rankings this year include the UAE (36th); Vietnam (42nd), and Thailand (43rd) getting closer to the top 40. India is (52nd) getting closer to the top 50; while the Philippines (54th) breaking into the top 55.