Research development

Saudi Arabia presents new plan for research, development and innovation

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has unveiled a new program for the research, development and innovation (RDI) sector, which aims to add 60 billion riyals ($16 billion) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2040.

The “National Aspirations and Priorities for RDI” initiative will involve an annual investment equal to 2.5% of the country’s GDP in 2040, creating “high-value” jobs in science and technology and further strengthening the kingdom’s position as the largest economy in the Arab world, Prince Mohammed said, according to a report by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The program will focus on four main areas: health and well-being, environmental sustainability and the supply of essential products, energy and industrial leadership, and economies of the future.

The initiative will serve as the cornerstone for the development of the national RDI strategy, which will be announced at a later date.

“Our ambition for Saudi Arabia is to become a world leader in research, development and innovation,” Prince Mohammed said of the plan, which is in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, the national strategy aimed at diversifying the country’s economy and reducing its dependence on oil.

Technology is a strong pillar of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy, with Riyadh encouraging entrepreneurship and seeking investment from local and foreign entities to develop the sector.

According to the International Data Corporation, the world’s largest oil exporter is expected to spend around $33 billion on ICT development in 2022. The sector grew by 8% between 2019 and 2021.

Saudi Arabia recorded the highest growth rate among the world’s largest economies in the first quarter of 2022, growing 10.4% annually on the back of rising oil prices, the Organization said. Economic Cooperation and Development earlier this month.

The other members of the major G20 economies recorded an average growth of 4.5% during the period.

The kingdom’s economic activity in the first quarter of 2022 was the highest growth rate in 10 years amid increased activity in the oil sector, government data shows.

Saudi Arabia has already taken steps to get its new strategy off the ground. RDI’s governance has been restructured and a supreme committee, headed by Prince Mohammed, has been formed to oversee the combined sector, SPA said.

An RDI Authority was also created to act as a facilitator, legislator and regulator, and to develop moonshots, flagship programs, projects, budget allocation and performance monitoring.

Saudi Arabia aims to attract the “best” national and international talent, and to cooperate and co-invest with leading research centers, international and private companies and non-profit organizations, the agency said. SPA press. He said start-ups would be given priority.

The kingdom’s growing ecosystem concluded its best year ever for venture capital and deal funding in 2021, roughly quadrupling and attracting around $548 million in funding, data platform Magnitt said in its statement. annual report for the kingdom.

This allowed Saudi Arabia to surpass Egypt and rank second in the Mena region in terms of funding last year, he said.

In the energy sector, the plan will lead Riyadh to come up with technology for the production of alternative sources such as green hydrogen, solar and wind.

The industrial sector will be oriented towards the production of technologically advanced and high value-added industries, with the mining sector expected to develop further.

Environmentally friendly technologies for water and desalination will also be developed, as well as sustainable technologies for food production, carbon capture and low-cost electricity generation.

The health sector will be supported by Saudi Arabia’s state-of-the-art infrastructure for medical research. The statement said that health and well-being remain at the top of national priorities and that the government will address it by providing digital healthcare to ensure health equity, in addition to exporting biotechnology solutions in the world. world.

The SPA said the National RDI Aspirations and Priorities initiative will be followed by “ambitious national programs to address major challenges facing the kingdom and the world”.

“The kingdom will warmly welcome the participation of researchers and pioneers in this journey of innovation for the benefit of mankind,” he said.

Updated: July 01, 2022, 09:46