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Innovation in Oman needs a new focus: IIC

9 May 2020

Oman’s 80th rank in the Global Innovation Index 2019 doesn’t reflect the true picture of innovation in the sultanate, the head of the Industrial Innovation Center (IIC) has said.  

Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Mahrooqi, CEO, IIC, said that national policies to promote innovation in the sultanate should be developed with regard to human competencies, scientific research, infrastructure, market development and investment development among other things. 

He added that the sultanate ranked 80th globally, 8th in the Arab world and 6th at GCC level in the Global Innovation Index issued in 2019. “It is a rank that does not match the capabilities of the sultanate, which adopted the national innovation strategy. The strategy is governed by a clear and ambitious vision to achieve the desired goal, which is to make the sultanate among the top 20 innovation-leading countries in the world by 2040.” 

Dr Mahrooqi was speaking at the second Ramadan evening organised by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) on Thursday, which was entitled ‘Innovation and its Role in Enhancing the Competitiveness of the National Economy.’ 

Speaking at the event, Dr Ali bin Saif al Harthy, dean of the Higher College of Technology, said that innovation is the most important factor in achieving competitiveness and gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation is important to push economic progress, as data for one country indicate that industries related to innovation-based technology provide about a third of job opportunities and contribute more than a half of its gross domestic product, he added. 

To improve the sultanate’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index, Harthy stressed the need to focus on innovation inputs and enhance them, increase the level of cooperation between private sector establishments and educational institutions, and involve students in different educational stages. 

Meanwhile, Dr Hilal bin Abdullah al Hinai, chairman of Oman Industrialists Association, said that the association aims to overcome the challenges facing industrial investors, find solutions and present them to the competent authorities. The association is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the OCCI to develop the SMEs sector, as it is the main driver of the national economy, he added. 

Youssef bin Ali al Harthy, CEO of Oman Technology Fund, also said that the fund, which was established in 2016 with a capital of US$200mn, has invested in more than 120 projects in various sectors, the most important of which are agriculture, food, transportation, logistics, health, education, and the financial technology sector. 

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