The role of research in knowledge economy within GCC countries

Asan Vernyuy Wirba


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are transitioning into a knowledge-based economy. The methodology use in this paper is secondary data obtained from difference sources. Descriptive and comprehensive approach have been applied. The OECD definition of knowledge economy and the World Bank Knowledge Index (KI) and Knowledge Economy Index (KEI), and Arab Knowledge Economy Index (AKEI) and other indicators are the international literature that is used to examine current and progress made by GCC member states to transition to the knowledge economy. The role of research in the knowledge economy is vital for the transformation process into knowledge economy within GCC member states.  According to Dr Mona “no research, no knowledge economy”. Natural resources of which GCC countries are endowed with are abundance especially oil and gas are plumbing typically from $140 to $30 or $40. There is growing effort by all countries globally to move toward green energy technology which is real. These challenges and the move by developed and developing economies toward knowledge economy is influenced by research, innovation, technology, information and entrepreneurship. That is why most of the countries within GCC member state are moving toward a knowledge economy. However, the literature review for this paper shows that there is little or less funding toward research, innovation and technological development compare to GCC member states counterparts in the West, Finland, Switzerland, Korea, Japan, UK, USA and Singapore. Hvit [2] pointed out that there is a lack of funding for research within GCC member states, despite economic resources. They have not even been forced to invent, innovate but been able to base their development on learning, imitation, importing technologies and workers globally. For him, this type of transformation or lack of funding will be long and difficult, and they cannot leapfrog to the knowledge economy as parallel to European evolution process.

The wheel of transformation, diversification into a knowledge economy and the role of research in knowledge economy within GCC member states have left the station, and there is no reverse to the old status quo. Their transformation may take many directions but requires bravery by playmakers within GCC member states. One option could be global talent pool, greater collaboration with great institutions, especially establishment of campuses in GCC countries, naturalisation and attraction of the best mind from abroad if the need be. There are differences from country to country toward the role of research in knowledge economy among GCC member’s states as this paper show. Some member states are in the crossroad of diversification of their economy. Nonetheless, one common factor across GCC member states is the mindset toward science culture is still low. Some states are still in their early stage of establishing a research system or ecosystem or research hubs or incubators to drive toward knowledge economy and should be approved.

Key Words: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), research, education, innovation, technology knowledge economy.

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