The present study proposes a framework for analysing the innovation landscape in Arab countries, which relies on the innovation policy framework described in an ESCWA study entitled “Innovation policy for inclusive sustainable development in Arab countries”. It also builds on other innovation frameworks designed by international agencies, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). ESCWA is focusing on innovation to support its member States in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Goal 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. The present study discusses the innovation landscape from the perspective of the Global Innovation Index. Arab countries are assessed as a function of their wealth (GDP PPP per capita), and are compared with other countries. In the overall Index, Western Asia and North Africa are ranked fourth after North America; Europe; South East Asia, East Asia and Oceania.
The innovation landscape, vision, strategies and outcomes are discussed based on available literature for six Arab countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The report assesses these countries’ approaches to innovation and the challenges they face. It also covers public and private investment in research and development, and the social and economic impact of innovation. Conclusions and recommendations were formulated based on the results of this analysis.