Saudi Arabia's efforts to position itself as a leading economic and innovation powerhouse have not gone unnoticed by the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2022 ranking, published by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development. Riyadh, which has reached 24th place globally, has risen eight places compared to the same ranking last year. The ranking evaluates 63 economies around the world on four main indicators: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.
Not only have the Saudis made it into the top 25 in the overall ranking, but they are the sixth-ranked country in the world in the attitude and values category. Some of the factors pointed to in analysing this theme are business competitiveness, conducting business, positive attitude towards globalisation, openness to foreign ideas and investments, advanced economic and social reforms, and, one of the most important in the Kingdom, as the key project of the Saudi economy, Vision 2030, shows, the improvement in digital transformation, which Riyadh has been focusing on in recent years.
Moreover, the fact that more than 80% of all companies in Saudi Arabia are SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) speaks of the facilities provided by the Kingdom for having a greater number of investors. Moreover, digitalisation is playing a key role in this aspect, as Vikas Panchal, general manager of Tally Solutions in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, says: "Digitalisation and business management software has proven that it can benefit SMEs", adding that this software "can help SMEs to reduce costs, standardise and automate business processes".
In this sense, Panchal also considers it one of the fundamental advances to "reduce dependence on labour". This is coupled with the fact that 70% of SMEs have intensified their use of digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also due to tax regulations imposed by Saudi Arabia that promote this digitisation process. This helps small businesses to be part of the technological progress that the Kingdom is going through and which has recently also set its sights on intellectual property as one of the fundamental pillars of the country's economic growth.
The National Intellectual Property Strategy (NIPST), recently announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to stimulate creativity and innovation. Unsurprisingly, this new project is part of the Vision 2030 project on which Riyadh is focusing much of its efforts. With the implementation of the NIPST, "the Kingdom will be a fertile environment for the knowledge economy through an integrated Intellectual Property system that supports the development of innovative technologies and industries and contributes to the growth of businesses," said the prince during the presentation.