|06 December, 2018

The Future of Knowledge: Global Knowledge Index 2018

Futurists at Knowledge Summit 2018 Identify Knowledge and Information as Driver of Future Economies

The Future of Knowledge: Global Knowledge Index 2018

UAE: The fifth annual Knowledge Summit, organized by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), began the proceedings of the second day with a session dedicated to the 2018 edition of the Global Knowledge Index (GKI), launched the previous day.

The panel brought together representatives from the United Nations Development Programme and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, namely: Khaled Abdel Shafi, Director, Regional Hub for Arab States, UNDP, Dr. Hany Torky, Chief Technical Advisor of the Arab Knowledge Project, and Jamal bin Huwaireb MBRF’s Chief Executive.

Abdel Shafi highlighted the increasingly important role played by knowledge in the development of societies, “As we strive to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, knowledge is our strong ally,” he added. “Its application develops capabilities and expands opportunities in multiple sectors of our lives, from education to economy to technology.”


In his speech, bin Huwaireb declared that the knowledge summit has changed a lot of concepts in the past years and helped enhancing knowledge in its different shapes, announcing that “The 2018 edition of the Global Knowledge Index is a testimony of our efforts in paving the way for pioneering projects and initiatives that catalyze our societies’ effort towards producing, disseminating and localizing knowledge in the world.” He added that under the umbrella of the partnership between UNDP and MBRF and within the Knowledge for All project, significant success was achieved over the years that led to expanding the scope of work to cover 134 countries in the 2018 edition of GKI.

He stated that the United Arab Emirates is headed for the vision 2030 and the results of the Global Knowledge Index proves that the UAE is on the right track.

Torky noted “Data can help the Arab region speed up development in the right direction, embracing the technology of the future, where the Global Knowledge Index also plays an important role in encouraging the countries to make their data available.” He also highlighted the critical role played by different educational sectors and its effect on the other sectors, namely innovation, technology and economy.

The Global Knowledge Index serves as a roadmap for the sustainable development of societies. It helps countries in the region and globally to formulate a forward-thinking strategy to support knowledge and promote it as a main component in building a stronger knowledge economy while ensuring sustainable development. “This project shows the keenness of the UAE leadership and people to keep up with scientific development in preparation for the future.” Torky added.

The Summit also highlighted UNDP and MBRF’s latest achievements in producing the world’s first Future of Knowledge: A Foresight Report, which is a pilot study on the future fields of knowledge that will shape the transformation of knowledge societies.

On the sidelines of this year’s event, the two-day Knowledge Summit also announced the winners of Literacy Challenge in the Arab World, an initiative to curb illiteracy in the region.

The Summit also hosted several informative sessions led by Knowledge for All project in the Knowledge Factory Arena including “Efficiency of Educational Systems and Youth Effectiveness,” it focused on the economic challenges to technical education and vocational training around the world.

Another session titled “Knowledge Economy Information and Communication Technology” discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution powering a knowledge-based technological economy and the economic impacts of the digital divide.

While “The Economic Return of Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation” session discussed the efficiency of the higher education system and different performances of research and innovation around the world.

The last session in the Knowledge factory arena titled “Information and Data” discussed the role of data as the solution to help governments in making policies and future economic strategies. The panel also discussed the issues related to data privacy and data science in the service of humanity.

Organized by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), the fifth Knowledge Summit was held on 5 and 6 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Summit bore the theme “Youth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy” and tackled the topic of the knowledge economy in depth. The Knowledge Summit 2018 brought together over 100 speakers including experts, decision makers and stakeholders from around the world in more than 45 discussion panels.

Notable speakers of the Summit include Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya Bint Al Hassan, Chair of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, H.E. Mohammad Abu Rumman, Jordan’s Minister of Culture and Youth, Syed Saddiq, Youth and Sports Minister of Malaysia, Prof. Dr Boris Cizelj, President of the Knowledge Economy Network, Leif Edvinsson, Professor of Knowledge Capital at Lund University, Sweden, Prof. Jan Sturesson, Strategic Advisor, International Public Speaker, Founder of Resting – Advice from the Future, Simon Galpin, Managing Director at Bahrain Economic Development Board, Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Digital Services Officer at Etisalat Group among others.


To view the full results of the Index and to learn more about the Knowledge for All Project, please visit the following link: 

About the Knowledge for All Project

The Knowledge for All Project aims to promote knowledge societies and policies as transformational means to achieve sustainable development. The project contributes to driving active conversation and raise awareness on the importance of knowledge and knowledge-based policies for sustainable development. The project encourages using knowledge productions, namely the Global Knowledge Index, as an advocacy tool, aiming to widely disseminate its results and embed in policy debates. 

About MBRF Knowledge Foundation

Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in May 2007, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) has since led and implemented pioneering programmes aimed at establishing Dubai and the UAE as the centre for knowledge and research.

MBRF aims to empower future generations and enable them to devise sustainable solutions to facilitate the process of knowledge development and research in the Arab World. The Foundation is committed to creating knowledge-based societies throughout the region by funding research projects, activities, and initiatives. It nurtures ideas and innovation while focusing on its main pillars which are education, entrepreneurship, and research and development. 

About the UNDP-MBRF Partnership

The partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) was launched in 2008, with the establishment of the Knowledge for All Project.

Under the umbrella of this partnership, the Knowledge for All Project has published three regional reports about knowledge in the Arab region, two of which involved original field research and country case studies, the Arab Knowledge Index 2015 and 2016, and the Arab Reading Index 2016. Then came the Global Knowledge Index in 2017, which is the only index that measures knowledge on the global level as a broad concept and is intricately related to sustainable development.

The Knowledge4All portal was launched in 2015 as a digital hub for knowledge, followed by a mobile app in 2016.

UNDP and MBRF have built a remarkable partnership throughout the past decade, sharing a vision of promoting and strengthening knowledge-based sustainable development in the Arab region and beyond.

Achievements of UNDP-MBRF Partnership  

The following key products have been developed through the partnership:

  • The Arab Knowledge Report 2009: Towards Productive Intercommunication for Knowledge
  • The Arab Knowledge Report 2010-2011: Preparing Future Generations for the Knowledge Society
  • The Arab Knowledge Report 2014: Youth and Localization of Knowledge
  • Arab Knowledge Index 2015
  • Launching of the Knowledge4All portal
  • Arab Knowledge Index 2016
  • Arab Reading Index 2016
  • Launching of the Knolwedge4All Mobile App
  • Global Knowledge Index 2017

The Arab Knowledge Reports focused on contribution to establishing the knowledge society and economy in the Arab region, i.e. a society where knowledge is the ultimate tool and medium of effective integration between ICT, expertise, and governance capacities towards maximizing the gains and sustainability of human development. 

This led to the development of the Arab Knowledge Index, reflecting knowledge from a development perspective in the Arab region while taking into consideration the Arab region’s specific context, needs and challenges, and focusing as well on the critical role of Arab youth in the establishment of the knowledge society in the Arab region.

Under the wider vision of the Arab Knowledge Index, the Arab Reading Index was published providing an objective assessment of the state of reading in the Arab region.

The positive impact of the Arab Knowledge Index promoted the development of the Global Knowledge Index, which is the only index that measures knowledge on the global level as a broad concept that is intricately related to sustainable development, hence to all aspects of modern human life, in a systematic approach that builds on solid conceptual and methodological principles.

Upcoming Products

Knowledge for All will be launching the Global Knowledge Index of 2018, which continues to measure knowledge on the global level, covering 134 countries in the latest edition.

After years of measuring the current state of knowledge based on data from national statistical and data systems, and given the exponential growth of knowledge creation, a new knowledge measurement tool using big data is being designed to better understand the future of knowledge societies. The Future of Knowledge: A Foresight Report will be launched presenting a pilot study on the future fields of knowledge that will shape the future of knowledge societies. The report covers 20 countries and the following sectors: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Biotechnology, Cybersecurity and Future Skills.

About the Knowledge Summit

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) is organizing it’s fifth annual Knowledge Summit under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and with directives from MBRF Chairman H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Summit bears the theme “Youth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy” and offers a global knowledge platform bringing together prominent decision makers, academics, and experts from various sectors to engage in constructive discussions, explore best practices, and propose solutions to address future challenges.

Furthermore, the Knowledge Summit cements Dubai’s status as a leading international centre for producing knowledge, all the while highlighting the emirate’s outstanding ability to forecast and prepare for the future.

This year’s discussions shed light on the concepts of the knowledge economy and the digital economy, in addition to the Islamic economy and its role in the knowledge economy. The talks explore the youth’s role in building knowledge-centred societies, while building on such subjects as human capital development as a cornerstone of comprehensive sustainable development.

© Press Release 2018

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