Research and development (R&D) spending is vital for innovation and long-term economic success. Yet oil-rich countries such as Kuwait often lag in R&D spending, as companies focus on resource extraction rather than new product development. The World Bank estimates that in 2013 only 0.3% of Kuwait's GDP was spent on R&D, compared to an OECD average of 2.4%, with private sector R&D likely to be even lower. As policymakers try and diversity the economy from petroleum into high-value-added, knowledge based activities, increasing the rate of private sector R&D represents a crucial challenge. This project aims to help Kuwaiti policymakers address this challenge.
Our primarily objective is to focus on the private sector and identify the barriers and enablers of private R&D investment in Kuwait, and then develop policy recommendations to help stimulate private sector R&D investment. We will do this by reviewing the international literature to establish the framework conditions behind successful R&D activity, investigating barriers and enablers which are specific to Kuwaiti firms, considering different alternative mechanisms for stimulating private R&D activity, and developing a set of policy recommendations for policymakers in Kuwait.
Breaking Out of the Innovation Trap? Towards Promoting Private R&D Investment in Kuwait
Husam Arman, Simona Iammarino, J. Eduardo Ibarra-Olivo and Neil Lee, March 2021
Download the paper
Compendium to the Report 'Breaking Out of the Innovation Trap? Towards Promoting Private R&D Investment in Kuwait'.
Husam Arman, Simona Iammarino, J. Eduardo Ibarra-Olivo and Neil Lee, 'Systems of innovation, diversification, and the R&D trap: A case study of Kuwait', Science and Public Policy, November 2021.
Husam Arman interview in Arabic about the project, Kuwait national radio, September 2021
Neil Lee, Husam Arman and Simona Iammarino, 'Breaking out of Kuwait's Innovation Trap', LSE Middle East Centre blog, 23 September 2019.
Neil is Professor of Economic Geography in the Department of Geogragpy and Environment, LSE.
Dr Husam Arman
Husam is an Associate Research Specialist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR).
Simona is Professor of Economic Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE.
Adil is a Research Assistant on the project.
Eduardo is a Research Officer on the project.
Yohan is a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE.