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Competitiveness and innovations are key to Saudi progress

We must not waste any time in incorporating competitiveness into the business environment to improve productivity

Samar Fatany

Published: Updated:

Global businesses and political leaders, and prominent intellectuals and journalists discussed the impact of organizational and national competitiveness on local, economic and social development during The Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF ) held in Riyadh recently. Speakers highlighted the theory of competitiveness and stressed the need to apply the practice in order to find solutions to major contemporary challenges. They stressed the importance of competitiveness as an essential requirement for any country seeking to achieve progress and prosperity for its people.

Captains of business and industry explained how competitiveness helps develop the performance of government, supports private sector innovations, facilitates the transfer toward a knowledge based society, encourages the diversification of the economy, improves the investment environment and ultimately boosts economic growth and stability. These are important guidelines to be studied and implemented with efficiency if we are really serious about competing with the rest of the world.

Age of discoveries

The global competitive trend is to acquire knowledge and information, identify existing and non-existing industries and accumulate know- how of specializations that exist around the world, put them together to create and innovate new discoveries, solutions and technologies. According to the leading global business and political experts, developing countries need to apply the concept of the diversity of knowledge. To achieve progress and development countries should strive to improve existing models that already work and allow for further innovations and developments. We can gain from the experience of others and the knowledge available and use the information to innovate new technologies and ideas to help us compete with the more developed countries of the world.

We live in the age of discoveries where science, technologies and innovations are key to progress and development. For our country to achieve progress and prosperity we need to ensure better standards of education and provide access to technical know- how in order to encourage innovation. Entrepreneurship should also be encouraged and entrepreneurial efforts of the youth should be applauded. Workforce development and job creation continue to be major concerns for all governments.

Social, political and economic innovations are connected with technological advancements. Today it is important for any modern state to allow civil society the opportunity to address problems and offer innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. In order to achieve a competitive government the global experts supported the need to encourage an internal demand system that can identify problems and raise the expectations for better performance of government departments. The creation of such response teams can support government with innovative solutions to fix the problems as they arise and monitor the proper implementation of their proposals. What our country needs is a more responsible civil society that can bring public concerns to governments, monitor policy and program implementation, and encourage participation of stakeholders at the community level.

The Ministry of Labor should be commended for its efforts to seek solutions involving the youth and the public to address the unemployment problem. However some of the traditional methods applied to coordinate their actions can no longer be of benefit. The Government is the principal provider of public services that are key to each existing or potential industry, therefore to follow the lead of competitive governments we need to amend some of the laws and change regulations in order to attract investors and generate the necessary revenues to boost our economy.

Eliminating bureaucracy and red tape

The forum also included discussions about ways to identify long-term partners, and maximize the returns of investments. Panelists discussed the need for transparency and the willingness to co-finance private sector projects. The creation of industrial zones and the establishment of development banks to provide information and available prospects are two other important requirements that can boost investments and facilitate the implementation of projects. The focus should be on productivity and not profitability.

Smart partnerships between the public and private sector, knowledge transfer, research and development and job training are principal objectives for the development of any industry. There are genuine attempts to apply these recommendations however what we lack is effective implementations and proper monitoring of deviations and mal practice.

Eliminating bureaucracy and red tape are necessary prerequisites to encourage innovative ideas and promote the potential of the younger generation. Implementing the principles of work ethics can put an end to the negative aspects of wasted time and money and low employee morale. There should be a climate of mutual trust and respect in which no form of discrimination or harassment is tolerated.

We must not waste any time in incorporating competitiveness into the business environment to improve productivity. Creating a culture of hard work, more respect for diversity, (which includes professional women into the workforce), seeking technical know- how will lead to a more efficient workforce in the future. Only by respecting the competitive drive can we promote social, economic and political cohesion within society.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015.

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Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”


Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.