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Why Qatar Should Aim for Better Ranking in The Global Innovation Index?

global innovation index 2018

The Global Innovation Index (GII) has become an unmatched authority for those countries seeking to measure and enhance their performance in innovation. 2018 marks the 11th edition of GII which means that the World Economic Forum (WEF) have 10 years worth of data from the participating countries.

Rising nations like Qatar should capitalize on these reports to set their footprints in the map of global innovation and economic sustainability. Local institutions and media should give the findings of these reports similar attention and placement as those issued by financial rating companies such as Moody's, Fitch and S&P.

The index provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 126 countries which represent 90.8% of the world’s population and 96.3% of global GDP. Its 80 indicators explore a broad vision of innovation, including political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication.

This year’s edition, is dedicated to the theme of Energizing the World with Innovation. It analyses the energy innovation landscape of the next decade and identifies possible breakthroughs in fields such as energy production, storage, distribution, and consumption. It also looks at how breakthrough innovation occurs at the grassroots level and describes how small-scale renewable systems are on the rise.

The top en countries leading the world in innovation are Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore, United States of America, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland. In the Middle East, Israel ranked 11th followed by the UAE (38) Qatar (51), Kuwait (60), Saudi Arabia (61) Oman (69) and Egypt (95).

The seven key findings of the Index in 2018 are:

  • Becoming optimistic about global innovation and growth is possible.

  • Continued investments in breakthrough energy innovations are essential for global growth and to avert an environmental crisis.

  • China’s rapid rise shows the way for other middle income economies.

  • Richer economies, with more diverse industry and export portfolios, are likelier to score high in innovation.

  • Focusing on translating innovation investments into results is key.

  • Strong regional innovation imbalances persevere, hampering economic and human development.

  • Most top science and technology clusters are in the U.S., China, and Germany; Brazil, India, and Iran also make the top 100 list.

Qatar's performance in the index has remained the same for the last two years. Its ranking keeps fluctuating between 49, 50 and 51. The best performance indicators for Qatar are in the areas of education, general infrastructure, market capitalization, university research, ICT services import, medium -to-high-tech manufacturing and FDI net outflows.

The Index framework has innovation inputs and innovation outputs as per the below diagram. Qatar seems to perform better in the inputs sub-index rather than the output index.

Framework of the GII 2018

Qatar is spending billions of dollars to build its hard and soft infrastructure particularly in its readiness for the 2022 World Cup. However, most of those initiatives and capital expenditure projects seem not to be adequately captured in the report.

The World Economic Forum collects its data on different countries from reliable sources within the respective countries. And this year's report didn't single out Qatar among those countries that haven't submitted their data. Hence, the ball remains to be in the court of concerned entities and research institutions in Qatar who should follow up with WEF to ensure that Qatar's performance is properly reflected in such key reports which are critical for attracting foreign investment, positioning the country globally and helping decision makers to see the gaps that should be gulfed.

Qatar is spending billions in building stadiums for the world cup, roads, hotels, hospitals, smart cities, schools, mall and the metro system. Each one of these verticals require ICT and innovation to be set. And since ICT is a horizontal enabler, it will impact the growth of each one of those areas in addition to agriculture and services like insurance, travel, healthcare and banking.

Qatar's performance in the creative output requires national initiatives and support to be enhanced. Areas like trademarks registration, creative goods exports, online creativity, domain names adoption, wikipedia edits, mobile apps creation - these activities should be easily improved particularly in the era where several local institutions are supporting and funding digital startups and SMEs.

We hope to see this year several case studies and use cases are published by local institutions on ICT and Innovation in Qatar, and the concerned entities publish market studies on the overall performance in the strategic sectors.

Branding and positioning require storytelling to be effective and reach the targeted audience. And in this case the target audience is WEF!

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