Pakistan is among the least innovative countries in the world, a report released last month has revealed.
According to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016, co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Pakistan ranked 119 of 128 countries surveyed. Switzerland has topped the list for the sixth time in a row.
The GII survey is an annual ranking of the innovation capabilities and results of world economies. It uses 81 indicators across a range of themes such as the innovation output sub index, innovation efficiency ratio, political environment, regulatory environment, and business environment.
Although the country’s ranking improved from 131 in 2015 to 119 this year, the number of countries included in the survey also decreased from 141 last year to 128 in 2016. Meanwhile, the country’s overall score fell slightly from 23.07 in 2015 to of 22.63 this year.
While Pakistan slipped to the lowest spot in the region, India maintained its top place in the region, moving up 15 spots from 81 last year to 66 in 2016. Nepal, which was the only South Asian country ranked lower than Pakistan last year, also rose 20 spots to end up four ranks above Pakistan at 115.
Earlier in February, the Ministry of Science and Technology stated in a written reply to the National Assembly (NA) that less than two per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was being spent on research and development. The reply further stated that this along with low standards of science education across the nation’s educational institutions were the prime reasons behind Pakistan being ranked 131 of 141 countries in GII 2015.
“Historically, allocations for research and development expenditure have always remained low,” the reply stated, adding that the current allocation was only 0.29 per cent of GDP, far below the world average as most developed countries spend between 2–4% of their GDP on research. A total number of 60,699 researchers are working in Pakistan with only 10,670 PhDs which “is very low as compared to developed countries”, the reply stated.
Similarly, the ministry reply also stated that the low standard of science education in schools and colleges was due to a lack of laboratory facilities, competent science teachers and “very low investment by the private sector in research and development.”
This year, China moved four spots up to join the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies. Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings. China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined highly developed economies that have historically dominated the the index.