Dubai – MENA Herald: Arab countries that fail to innovate and develop their knowledge-based economies risk going “extinct”, a panel discussion at the Knowledge Summit 2015 has concluded. The panel, which included leading experts who helped create the recently released Arab Knowledge Index, believes the index could play a key role in helping regional countries to develop and diversify their economies and create much needed jobs.

“If countries want to be a part of the knowledge-based economy, they need to transform themselves; otherwise they risk going extinct,” said Dr. Khalid Wazani, Strategy and Knowledge Advisor at Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. “The Arab Knowledge Index is a profiling of each country to help it form future economies, build on already existing capabilities and be able to effectively deal with areas of weakness,” he added.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme on Tuesday officially launched of the first edition of the Arab Knowledge Index, offering a systematic mechanism to monitor the status of knowledge in the Arab countries annually.  

“There are many challenges that lie ahead due to the major developments that are taking place in the advancement of technology. The Internet of Things, for example, will produce a massive amount of big data that will need to be analysed and assessed. Countries that are not able to keep up with these trends will be deeply affected by the progress of their knowledge-based economy,” said Dr. Yousry Al Gamal, Former Minister of Education in Egypt and the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Egypt-Japanese University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Jacques van der Meer, Head of Innovation and Competiveness Department at European Investment Bank, added: “The purpose of this index is not simply to have an index, the purpose is to create a knowledge-based economy that strives towards economic growth, job creation and social inclusion.”

The index helps fill the gap in scientific data, which the Arab world continues to struggle with, said Dr. Moyaz Khorshid, Former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt. “Arab countries continue to suffer from lack of research and graduates with the right skill sets for the workplace. There is a need to have analytic research to help us develop and improve.”

The Knowledge Summit 2015 is organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Summit takes place from December 7 to 9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai.

The Summit this year includes a range of interesting sessions addressed by top level international speakers, including ministers, knowledge influencers, scientists and innovators, enhancing Dubai’s position in the field of knowledge in the global arena.