Jamaica gets a little more innovative

Moves up 3 spaces on Global Innovative Index

Observer writer

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Jamaica improved three places in the Global Innovative Index (GII) 2018: Energizing the Worldwith Innovation to be ranked 81st out of 126 countries.

In the 2017 edition of the GII report, titled 'Innovation Feeding the World', the country placed 84th out 127 countries.

Jamaica has slowly progressed up the index since the Jamaica Observer last reported on the 2015 edition of the report, when the country placed 96th, moving from 121 the year prior. In 2016 Jamaica moved up to 89th.

The GII 2018 was topped by European countries Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Grouped among Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, Jamaica ranks 10th in the region behind leaders Chile (47th), which declined by one place since last year; Costa Rica (54th), also down one spot; and Mexico (56th), up two places.

Guatemala (102nd), El Salvador (104th), Honduras (105th) and Bolivia (117th) were the lowest- ranked countries in the LAC region. According to the report, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not included in this year's index due to a failure to satisfy a “minimum data threshold” which accounts for their economic activities.

The GII reports notes that though the LAC region has countries with the “potential” to improve, the region fails to live up to expectation. “Until this year, no economies from this region had been identified as innovation achievers. In 2018…two Latin American economies — Costa Rica and Colombia — are identified as innovation achievers,” it says.

In relation to its Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica outranked the Dominican Republic at 87th (down from 79th) and Caribbean Community counterparts Trinidad & Tobago at 96th (91st last year) — the only other countries from the subregion to be listed on the index.

Both Barbados and Guyana, who outranked Jamaica in the 2015 GII report, were delisted from the in 2016 for not meeting the minimum data threshold.

In the meantime, Jamaica recorded strengths in the categories of institution, human capital and research, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge & technology outputs, and creative outputs.

The country's weaknesses were identified mainly in the areas human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and knowledge and technology outputs.

To the north, the United States and Canada were sixth and 18th respectively, while the United Kingdom, another of Jamaica's major trading partner, ranked fourth. China, a major contributor of foreign direct investment, placed on spot above Canada at 17th.

South Africa, at 58, leads the Sub-Saharan African region; India holds top spot in Central and Southern Asia at 57th; at 11, Israel is first in the Northern Africa and Western Asia grouping; and in East and South-East Asia and Oceania, Singapore stands tall at 5th.

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