UAE top rated by business to become regional innovation hub

Published December 4th, 2006 - 01:32 GMT

The UAE is top rated as the country most likely to become the region’s innovation hub, according to a new index released today. The Arab Innovation Index (AII) rates the UAE four times more likely than closest rival Egypt to become the dominating innovation influence in the Arab world.

The AII, the result of collaboration between Moutamarat, leading French business school INSEAD, and consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, was launched on the first day of the Arab Strategy Forum. It is the first and only comprehensive Index of Innovation in the region and, crucially, measures the factors that are key to economic, technological and social progress and development.

The AII is one of the new benchmarks to be extracted from the enlarged Arab Business Intelligence Report (ABIR II), an extensive independent research programme that is rapidly becoming established as the barometer for business opinion in the region.

Khalid Al Malik, Chief Executive Officer for Moutamarat and Senior Vice-President for Knowledge, Tatweer, said: “This Index is a marvelous breakthrough for the region and provides clear indications of the strengths and deficiencies of national innovation policies and practices throughout the region.

“The Arab Strategy Forum (ASF) offers the ideal launchpad for the AII since it is a tool that leaders and strategists can refer to in planning the long term development of regional economies.

“The AII highlights the potential of the UAE to offer leadership in adopting innovation and using the outcomes to hone its competitive edge. Its readiness to absorb innovation has clearly enabled it to stand out in the region.”

Full results of the AII and the survey it is based on will be released at the beginning of next year. The preview results of the survey announced today identified information and communications technologies, energy, mining, and utilities as the sectors rated by the business leaders surveyed as most open to innovation. They also pointed to the potential of other areas such as healthcare, retail, consumer goods and finance.

“Information and communication technologies and the energy and mining sectors were the clear innovation leaders according to the respondents to the survey,” said Soumitra Dutta, Professor of business and Technology at INSEAD. “These are crucial areas and the AII allows us to measure – and everyone to see – the degree to which Arab nations are responding to the challenge of innovation.

“What the AII measures – response-readiness – is directly linked to a country’s ability to adopt and benefit from leading technologies.”

Significantly, lack of resources was identified as the most important challenge to successful innovation in the Arab world. Specifically, 30 per cent of respondents to the survey identified the shortage of qualified staff as the main barrier to innovation. Mr. Dutta added: “It is important to note that this survey found that there is no overwhelming barrier to innovation in the Arab world. Companies in the region can innovate and are doing so to compete on the global stage.”

The AII is one of Moutamarat’s key knowledge products and part of a portfolio that includes a confidence index and its comprehensive Arab Business Intelligence Report.

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