Oman plans to be among world’s most innovative countries by 2020

The Research Council of Oman has recently unveiled the country’s National Innovation Strategy and highlighted the importance of leveraging innovation initiatives as catalyst for change within the Sultanate.

Shedding light on a number of innovation-driven targets for the upcoming 22 years, TRC noted that the government aims to make Oman one of the top 40 innovative countries in the world by 2020, and propel the nation into the top 20 by 2040.

Sayyid Dr. Fahd bin Al Julanda Al Said, assistant secretary general, Innovation Development of TRC, noted that while they may face challenges in implementing the strategy, however, if they believe that they for change is now.

He added that while the year 2040 may be far ahead, they need to begin their transformation journey now and the TRC will take the responsibility of making it happen starting with setting up guidelines for the strategy. “We are not talking about problems without offering solutions. We are not dreaming for ourselves, but if we do not dream for the future generation today, then who will?” he said.

National Strategy for Innovation was launched with the theme “Oman Innovation Leap”, under the patronage of Sayyid Dr. Fahd, with Dr. Khalid bin Salem Al Saidi, Secretary General of the State Council; Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al Hinai, Secretary-General of TRC; and Dr. Sharifa bin Hamoud Al Harithiya, senior planning specialist at TRC and Head of the National Innovation Strategy Project in attendance, according to Times of Oman.

In 2013, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said issued Royal decrees to set up the main committee for Oman Vision 2040 under the chair of His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture. It developed and crystallised the draft document, while ensuring community-wide agreement and involvement.

“When we first started our research, we wanted to know why some countries succeed in developing strong knowledge-based societies and why do other countries fail. What we learned is that those successful countries, like Singapore and Finland, what they all have in common is a National Innovation Strategy.

“We are talking about innovation in general, not just technological innovation. We are talking about governmental innovation, innovation in education,” Al Harithiya said.

The new strategy included a comprehensive vision, which are focused on 10 key areas including education and training; research and development; localisation of knowledge and technology; production and commodities; knowledge management; information readiness; consulting services; local marketing; standardisation and follow-up; and harmonised policies.

Senior officials at TRC acknowledged that while the goals were highly ambitious and challenging, the Sultanate was more than capable of achieving them.

According to TRC data, the top 20 most innovation-driven countries had an average institutional system ranking of 80 out of a possible 100, whereas Oman was ranked 71.8 last year. Al Harithiya concluded by saying that while the road ahead is far from simple, Oman’s ambitious vision is achievable. “Our vision, God willing, is to be among those nations that are leaders by raising the level of innovation in the Sultanate. Yes, to reach the 2020 goal, we have only two years left but we can do it,” she said.

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