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Arabs R&D spending stands at 0.2%
 Riyadh 15th May 2001

  Noting that R&D constitutes no more than 0.2 percent of the total national per capita in the Arab world, Prince Fahad ibn Abdullah, assistant to the minister of defense and aviation, has stressed the need for integrating research programs in the region and allocating a higher outlay on R&D.

Prince Fahad was inaugurating the two-day Bell Labs Technology seminar at King Faisal Conference Hall here yesterday. Dr. Saleh Al-Athel, president of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, Michael Craft, president, Lucent Technologies International Inc. (Saudi Arabian branch), and Michael Butcher, president, International Operations, Lucent Technologies, were the other speakers. The seminar was attended by a large gathering of telecommunications experts from KACST, Saudi Telecommunications Co., King Saud University and the private sector.

Prince Fahad said the Arab world’s spending on research and development varies between 0.03 percent and 1.1 percent of the total national per capita. The total expenditure on R&D by the Arab countries in 1996 amounted to only $872, or 0.2 percent of the total national per capita, whereas the international average amounts to 1.4 percent.

He observed that if the Arab world wishes to catch up with the advanced countries, they must pay attention to R&D. He said although the level of the Kingdom’s spending on R&D activities does not exceed 0.25 percent of the total national per capita, the setting up of KACST, research centers in Saudi universities, SABIC Research and Technology Center as well as other R&D centers demonstrate the Kingdom’s commitment to the creation of R&D facilities.

Pointing out that seven Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries account for 85 percent of the world spending on R&D, he said the most significant trend among the major industrialized countries was the decrease in government sector’s contribution in funding the R&D activities vis-à-vis an increase in the private sector’s contribution.

Earlier, Dr. Saleh Al Athel spelled out KACST’s role in supporting scientific research, facilitating transfer and localization of technology. Accordingly, KACST has cooperated with Lucent Technologies in organizing the BLTS 2001 seminar.

Mike Craft, president, Lucent Technologies International Inc. (Saudi Arabian Branch), said that under their scholarship program for 2000 Assam Al Sahbini and Rayan Mufti from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals have been selected for pursuing higher studies in computer engineering and electrical engineering.

Source: Arab News© 
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15 May 2001 06:29:10 PM

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