UNESCWA has published a study titled “Towards an Integrated Knowledge Society in the Arab Countries: Strategies for Implementation Modalities.” It aims at providing a framework and guidelines for the design, development and implementation of national strategies towards the realization and development of a knowledge society and a knowledge-based economy in the Arab countries. It analyses implementation concerns related to socio-economic initiatives, and builds an agenda for implementation modalities related to the development and sustenance of knowledge economies.
According to the study, Arab countries require a new form of development to be globally competitive. In times of change and uncertainty, knowledge-based development is capable of directing the growth model towards some of the problems in Arab countries, namely education, poverty and the restricted rights of women. The knowledge revolution offers a unique opportunity to evolve in a direction that is better suited to the current and future socio-economic needs of Arab countries, in terms of growth, private sector development, employment and a capable young labor force. Building a related strategy entails detecting regional and national strength, in addition to opportunities and threats, with the aim of building Arab-specific comparative advantages that can reduce the knowledge gap.
Moreover, a lack of governmental best practices is compelling Government executives to adopt private-sector concepts of knowledge strategy, despite the fact that the two sectors have different characteristics. As such, the study reviews modalities that enable Government executives to adapt private sector theories, concepts and frameworks to enhance their strategic planning and execution capabilities.
In recognition of these facts, the study suggests that Arab countries must aim to make progress with regard to the following: financing initiatives towards the knowledge society by attracting foreign investment and promoting internal investment; designing and developing such initiatives in cooperation with major stakeholders, Governments, the private sector and civil society; and building clusters that will contribute to network-based development.
The study recommends the key role UNESCWA can play in assisting Governments in the region in these endeavors by providing the experience and required infrastructure to ensure that the right strategies are crafted and the right initiatives are launched.