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Business and Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia by Edward Burton

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Chapter 2Innovation in Saudi ArabiaThe Kingdom's March Toward the Future

EVALUATING INNOVATION IN SAUDI ARABIA: THE GLOBAL INNOVATION INDEX AND THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL MARKET ENGAGEMENT

Saudi Arabia's journey toward a national culture of advancement in technology and innovation has roots in the illustrious past of Islamic research and discovery. Invention and worldwide impactful contributions to science are nothing new to the Islamic world. During the Abbasid dynasty, 750 to 1258 a.h., Islamic culture, arts, and scientific advancement reached its apex. The vertex of this pinnacled legacy of achievement was the undeniable fact that the world's economy at that time benefited enormously from the furtive and creative minds of Islamic theorists, scholars, and scientists resident in the dynasty's capital, Baghdad. Lavish donations and contributions given to fund the scientific pursuits of Muslim intellectuals from Baghdad and throughout an Islamic empire stretching from Asia to Southern Europe helped to advance an already flourishing economic, commercial, and trading imperium.

It is doubtful a return to the golden age of seventh-century Islamic world preeminence of intelligentsia and innovation is what the Kingdom had in mind when its ministry of economy and planning submitted the Ninth Development Plan incorporating the notion of a knowledge-based economy as one of the document's prime directives. However, it is quite clear Saudi leaders wished to engender the Kingdom with ...

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