NIS aims to place Oman in top 20 countries by 2040

May 17, 2017

The National Innovation Strategy (NIS) project aims to place Oman amongst the top 40 countries in innovation by 2020 and amongst the top 20 countries by 2040, said Dr Sharifa al Harthiya.

Dr Sharifa who is the director of NIS project at The Research Council, said this while deliberating on the project which has been recently approved by the Council of Ministers. She made a presentation on Wednesday explaining its stages and the efforts that have been put forward by various government, private and civil society institutions.

Dr Sharifa said, “We are focusing on the broad concept of innovation and not talking about only technical innovation. We are including government innovation, innovation in leadership, educational innovation, social innovation and technical innovation. Secondly, this strategy links all such existing strategies.

“It’s linking the R&D strategy, education industry and infrastructure strategy and economic strategy. Third, in this strategy we are evaluating ourselves based on three local indicators - global innovation index, global competitiveness index and the knowledge-based index. So, all our initiatives and programmes in Oman are being linked with global index. It will be easy for us to track our progress.”

She said that by 2020 Oman needs to be amongst top 40 countries in innovation and by 2040 be among top 20. “We have to think of other sectors other than oil and gas. Innovation is our aim and this is what we are promoting in our strategy. At present our status is 73rd. The competition is between 140 countries and others are faster than us.”

She added that innovation is important and if Oman wants to maximise its progress it needs to focus on it. “We have to maximise our innovation output by gathering all effort.”

Citing an example on some initiatives that need to be enhanced, she said, “For example, the broadband network must cover all of Oman. The Oman Broadband Company is doing a great job on this. The broadband service is one of the indicators of innovation in any country. So until now our rank is a bit modest but we need really to focus on this initiative and we need broadband services all over the country.”

Dr Sharifa said that the strategy in the short-term stage focuses on initiatives that will bring immediate and high impact to national sustainability, including the development of digital and Internet services, the removal of regulatory obstacles and promoting the development of policies for small and medium size enterprises.