Expert Group Meeting on Innovation for Economic Development
Date : 18-19 February 2013 Venue : Jeddah Saudi Arabia

The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Innovation for Economic Development in IDB Member Countries was held on 18-19 February 2013 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Atilla Karaman, Senior Researcher, represented the Centre thereat.

To cultivate innovation efforts as well as motivate member countries to deepen their commitments in harnessing innovation to attain economic development. The Management of the IDB Group has adopted “innovation” as the theme for the 38th Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the IDB Group to be held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from 8-12 Rajab 1434H (18-22 May 2013). Accordingly, the theme of the 24th IDB Annual Symposium, scheduled to take place on 21 May 2013 is “Innovation for Economic Development in IDB Member Countries”.

In preparation for the Symposium, the EGM was organized to bring together those with knowledge and experience in different aspects of innovation to brainstorm and generate insights into issues on innovation and economic development to shape understanding of how to mainstream innovation in national development plans and policies and best practices in harnessing innovation for economic development.

The following themes were covered in the sessions of the EGM:

Session 1: Innovation and Economic Development: Global Perspectives

Under this thematic session, experts highlighted global innovation issues, measurements and challenges as well as best practices at country and firm levels. Some of the key questions addressed were: What are the essential ingredients of a robust national system of innovation and innovation ecosystem? What are the best practices in harnessing innovation for development? What are the models of innovation ecosystem and how are they replicable in developing country context based on South-South and South-North relationship?

Session 2: Grassroots Innovation

Under this session, experts provided practical examples of networking for harnessing grassroots innovation in the form of government or international agency support mechanisms or NGO networking arrangements to support BOP innovation activities. Key questions addressed included: What are the basic networking institutional mechanisms for harnessing grassroots innovation? What are the obstacles and what needs to be done to remove them? What are the roles of innovation centres in addressing obstacles to innovation in IDB member countries? What are the grassroots innovations in IDB member countries that have impacts on their economic development?

Invited Presentation Session: “Why the Increased Attention to the Drylands?”
Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, made a presentation titled “Why the Increased Attention to the Drylands?” and shared the innovative approaches in the Millennium Villages Project.

Session 3: Innovation Capabilities in IDB Member Countries: Challenges and Opportunities

Under this thematic session, experts provided empirical analysis of innovation in member countries by illustrating their performances in the context of global and developing countries context. The session addressed the following questions: Where do IDB member countries stand in innovation capabilities? What are the major challenges and opportunities? What are the efforts (programmes, strategies and policies) of IDB member countries in building and harnessing innovation capabilities? What national system of innovation has worked well in member countries and elsewhere and how can other member countries adapt?

Session 4 and 5: Sectoral Innovation

Under these two sessions, experts presented analysis of innovations in education (innovative ways of encouraging learning), renewable energy, halal industry (products and services) and Islamic finance. The key questions addressed were: What innovative activities have emerged from these sectors? What implementation successes have been achieved from them? How can they be replicated in member countries? What are the policies required to leverage innovation capabilities for economic development?

Session 6: Fostering Cooperation and Partnerships for Innovation in IDB Member Countries

This session focused on measures and mechanisms for fostering cooperation among member countries and the role of international development partners. It addressed such questions as what is the appropriate framework for cooperation among member countries given their different levels of innovation capabilities? How can cooperation enhance the adoption of best national system of innovation by member countries (a case study of the knowledge sharing programme between South Korea and Turkey)? What roles can international development partners play in supporting member countries to adopt suitable national innovation systems as well as facilitating cooperation for mutual benefits for harnessing innovation to drive economic development? Mr. Atilla Karaman made a presentation on the current stance of science, technology, and innovation in OIC countries and focused on the on-going efforts of the Centre concerning reporting and capacity building activities in innovation under its Atlas of Islamic-World Science and Innovation (AIWSI) Project and OIC-VET initiative.

Key conclusions and recommendations that emerged from the EGM will form the basis for deliberations by IDB governors in the 24th IDB Annual Symposium, which will guide the formulation of an action plan for IDB Group to be a catalyst that is anchored on a framework and a cooperation agenda for innovation-driven economic development in member countries.


  • Agenda (English)
  • Current Stance of Science and Technology in OIC Countries (English)