Saudi Arabia to launch a new strategy for research and development soon: Minister

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is all set to launch a new strategy for research and development as the Kingdom steadily progresses in its journey to diversify an economy dependent on oil for several decades, according to Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister of Investment. 

While talking at the Ministry of Education’s Sustainable Partnerships Conference in Riyadh, Al-Falih said that development blended with innovation is the economic key to any country, Al Ekhbariya news channel reported. 

Al-Falih further noted that universities in the Kingdom have a crucial responsibility to gain the confidence of the government, as R&D expenditure allocated to each institution will be proportional to their individual capacity.  

During his speech, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and minimal resources, Bandar Al-Khorayef announced that a budget for research and development will be allocated soon. 

Al-Khorayef pointed out that the innovation strategy will enhance Saudi Arabia’s exports, and will contribute to national gross domestic production. 

Earlier in June, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a program for the research, development and innovation sector to enhance the Kingdom’s competitiveness. 

According to a report published by the Saudi Press Agency, this twenty-year-long aspiration program includes developments in the fields of health, environmental sustainability, leadership in energy and industry, and future economies. 

Through this R&D program, which is expected to add nearly SR60 billion ($16 billion) to the Kingdom’s GDP by 2040, Saudi Arabia is aiming to become a global leader in innovation.

One of the main priorities for the RDI initiative includes a yearly investment equivalent to 2.5 percent of the country’s GDP in 2040, along with creating thousands of job opportunities in science and technology. 

In July, Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program identified innovation powered by research and development as a key enabler of its long-term socio-economic goals. 

One of the Kingdom’s goals outlined in Vision 2030 is to become one of the top 10 countries in the Global Competitive Index by the end of this decade, increasing from 24th in 2022.

It should be noted that two core components of the Global Competitiveness Index are directly related to R&D. 

In September, speaking at the Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Bali, Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha said that technology and innovation are crucial factors which determine the sustainable economic development of a country. 

“The support provided to the technology, innovation and entrepreneurship sectors by the (Saudi) leadership has contributed to the entrepreneurship of the Kingdom, which has become the center for technology and innovation in the region,” said Al-Swaha.

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