Knowledge Cooperation Opportunities between Saudi Arabia and the BRICS

Knowledge Cooperation Opportunities between Saudi Arabia and the BRICS

Abdulkader Alfantookh (Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and Saad Haj Bakry (College of Computers & Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2016070103
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It has been emphasized that building global knowledge societies enhances the human capital and that this would lead to the promotion of peace and development for the benefit of the whole world. This paper introduces a knowledge assessment framework based on the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) knowledge society paradigm, and on available international indicators. The framework provides an index that consists of “28 indicators,” with “4 sub-indices”; and a criterion for comparing the measured values of the indicators and identifying prioritized knowledge cooperation opportunities. The framework is used to investigate these opportunities between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It has been found that KSA enjoys high level of knowledge society enablement from which the BRICS can gain; while the BRICS enjoy high level of knowledge productivity from which KSA can gain. Bridging the gap between the two sides will be useful to both, and to building global knowledge societies.
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The countries identified as the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have grouped together, in the early years of the 21st century, to become an important economic block that enjoy advanced development, and that also represent an emerging powerful global economic power (BRICS, 2015). Identifying cooperation opportunities between the BRICS countries and the GCC countries, of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which also represent an important global economic block, would be beneficial to both (GCC, 2015). This paper is concerned with assessing knowledge cooperation opportunities between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest economic power of the GCC block, and the BRICS.

This introductory section aims at providing the necessary background that enables addressing the problem considered. The given background has three main parts:

  • The first highlights the international drive toward knowledge as a source for development.

  • The second identifies international views on assessing knowledge issues in different countries.

  • The third introduces the work presented in this paper.

The International Drive Toward Knowledge for Development

At the turn of the century, that is in the year 2000, world leaders gathered in the United Nations (UN) and issued the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that set development directions toward better world. Among these development directions were: education, global partnership, and the availability of new technology, especially the information and communication technology (ITU, 2003).

In the year 2003, the world leaders met again in Geneva in what is known as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which emphasized knowledge activation as a mean for development, through the widespread use of information and communication technology (ICT) (WSIS, 2005). In 2005, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) started replacing the term information society with that of knowledge society emphasizing the need to create knowledge and to utilize it for supporting development (UNESCO, 2005).

In 2010, UNESCO introduced a paradigm for the knowledge society. The paradigm identifies knowledge activities as consisting of knowledge creation, knowledge preservation, knowledge diffusion and knowledge utilization (UNESCO, 2010). In 2013, UNESCO stressed the need for spreading the drive toward building global knowledge societies in order to promote human development alongside technological innovation. It considered that the core aspiration for peaceful and sustainable knowledge societies must acknowledge the interest of all stakeholders. If every country plans and drives its ways toward building its own knowledge society according to these principles, global knowledge societies seeking peace and development can be reached for the benefits of all (UNESCO, 2013).

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