UNDP, MoEP and MoFA join hands to transform Saudi Arabia into a Knowledge Based Economy

Apr 25, 2014

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 9th Development Plan includes focusing on the transition into a knowledge-based economy. Together, the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy and Planning organized the knowledge based-economy conference under the title "Knowledge-Based Economy Conference And Its Role In The National Development". This has been the result of the continuous efforts for the transformation as a strategic option for sustainable development through technology, innovation and creativity and as a key driver for economic growth in many countries

The objective of the conference, which was held on the 24th of April, under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs is to raise public awareness and share experiences from international and national experts with the aim of shaping future activities and address challenges.

Prince Saud Al -Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs speech was delivered on his behalf by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Dr. Muhammad Al-Jasser, in which he focused on the concept of knowledge-based economy and its importance in achieving sustainable development.

Prince Khalid Al-Faisal - Minister of Education – delivered his speech under the title: transition to a knowledge-based society (from the school to the school).

This was followed by the word of H.E. Minister of Economy and Planning, Dr. Muhammad Al-Jasser, which included the Kingdom's strategy to the knowledge-based economy.

 Dr. Ibrahim Al-Ziq – the Regional Representative for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the GCC and Acting Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Riyadh, delivered the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech applauding the Kingdom’s achievements in this field, particularly its success in using information and communications technology (ICT) tools to facilitate the delivery of services.

“The United Nations stands ready to assist in the overall process of building a knowledge-based society and economy in the country that benefits all people. Our aim is to foster the most efficient use of information, knowledge, data, communications and best practices. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could also serve as a valuable knowledge hub to promote dialogue on substantive issues and international initiatives among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he stated.

In his speech, the SG also mentioned that in order to generate progress, countries must invest in education, science and technology.

Experts from UNDP participated in the conference and shared their experiences in the field. Dr. Ghaith Fariz, Director/Coordinator of the Arab Knowledge Report gave a presentation on Knowledge of Innovation in the Arab Region: Towards meaningful Indicators and Approaches.

Speaking of the conference, Dr. Fariz said “This conference is very important and we support the efforts of Saudi Arabia towards establishing the aspired knowledge based society. Today we learned several initiatives in this country such as King Abdullah Economic cities. Such initiatives are also contributing and laying down the seats to establish knowledge-based society in the region. There are steps being taken in the country, outcomes of these steps are vivid and very promising. The productive discussions today are a very positive sign and reflect the willingness of the Saudi government and people to sincerely advance the agenda of knowledge based economy and society in the country.”

Mr. Raul Zambrano, team leader, Inclusive Participation and Global Policy Adviser in the ICT for Development and e-governance team at UNDP’s Democratic Governance practice, gave a presentation titled “Development of innovation or Innovation for Development” explaining how developing countries are becoming leaders in “social” innovations. 

Prof. Peter A. Bruck, CEO and Chief Researcher of the Research Studios Austria, presentation titled the “Knowledge Gap: Will countries fail in the transition into Knowledge Economy and Society due to failures in human learning?” which discussed the role of education and learning in becoming a knowledge based society.

The conference focused on the transformation into a knowledge-based economy through the use of ICTs by giving examples of different nations around the world. It also highlighted the important role of education in the process of building a knowledge-based society and how the young generation are the future of Saudi Arabia.

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