Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Rentier Culture in the Arab Countries
While the average age varies from one country to another, collectively the Arabs constitute one of the world’s most youthful populations. For Arab governments with few or no social services, dysfunctional educational systems and inadequate innovation and entrepreneurial capabilities, their young populations are rapidly turning from an onerous burden into a grave menace. This chapter reviews a number of critical challenges that need to be addressed to rectify the situation, with special emphasis on the GCC countries and with reference to the rentier culture that pervades many walks of life across the region. Compounded by persistent ethnic, religious and political conflict, it is argued that this culture is seriously undermining research, innovation, and entrepreneurship capabilities. Nothing less than a radical overhaul of governance procedures and institutional arrangements is required to turn the numerous challenges facing the region into opportunities and long lasting benefits.