Muscat: The Sultanate has continued to make significant progress towards the long-term goal of becoming an innovative-based economy. According to the Global Competitiveness Report for 2013-14 released yesterday by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Oman is ranked 33rd in the world and has improved in each of the three judging criteria compared to last year's findings.
The report examines and compares the global competitiveness of 148 economies based on efficiency enhancers, innovation and sophistication factors as well as the basic requirements of doing business, which includes infrastructure, health and education and economic environment.
Commenting on the report, Dr Salem bin Nasser Al Ismaily, chairman of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Paiped), said; "Oman has made great strides forward in becoming an attractive business destination and partner. The Sultanate still ranks fourth in the Middle East and North African (Mena) region for competitiveness but by making advances in every pillar of the Global Competitiveness Index we are realising an ambitious plan to diversify the economy, attract foreign investment and enhance the framework necessary to become an international business hub."
Oman's market size
Compared to last year's report, Oman is ranked one place higher in terms of infrastructure, four places higher in business institutions and quality of health and primary education, seven places higher in goods market efficiency and eight places higher in labour market efficiency. Furthermore, the financial market and business sophistication ranking has also risen by five places.
While competitiveness in Oman continues to improve, the report states Oman ranks low in market size and technological readiness. However, the government's strategic approach to promoting Oman-made products and services and attracting inward investment will in turn increase the country's market size and technological knowledge and expertise.
The report predicts that the traditional distinction between countries being 'developed' or 'less developed' will gradually disappear and will instead be referred to in terms of being 'innovation rich' verses 'innovation poor.' It is therefore vital that leaders from business, government and civil society work collaboratively to create education systems and enable environments which foster innovation.
The report's Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) places Switzerland at the top of the ranking for the fifth year running. Singapore and Finland remain in second and third positions, respectively.
Qatar tops the rankings for Middle East and North Africa nations, coming in at 13th place, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) entering the top 20 for the first time in 19th place.
"We have moved into an era where innovation is the driving factor for economic growth.
Placing a greater emphasis on research and development and the adoption of new technologies to streamline industries will generate new business opportunities move Oman up the World Economic Forum's rankings. Indeed, the Paiped team works very closely with the domestic business community as well as with young entrepreneurs to encourage the development of new products and services," noted Dr Al Ismaily.