Thailand makes ‘enormous progress’ in World Innovation Index

Thailand rose seven places in the Global Innovation Index published last week by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations, finishing 44th out of 126 countries, and was among a group of 20 nations named by WIPO as innovation achievers.

“Thailand makes enormous progress this year, moving up seven positions and reaching the 44th place overall. It gains between three and 15 spots in all pillars except for Infrastructure, where it loses one, and Knowledge and Technology Outputs, stable at the 40th position,’’ the report said.

Thailand’s seven-place jump was the largest rise among countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). But WIPO viewed the entire region in a favorable light. “ASEAN economies are making great progress in innovation and socioeconomic development indicators,” the report said.

The Kingdom also returned to the group of 20 nations named as Innovation Achievers by the report, having last been included in that list in 2015. “Thailand [made] a comeback after two years,” the report noted.

Thailand has not had a global reputation for innovation, but the government is placing great emphasis on fostering innovation as a driver of the Kingdom’s economy. Innovation is a crucial pillar in the administration’s 20-year national strategy known as Thailand 4.0 that seeks to steer Thailand’s economy and society towards advanced technologies and green development.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha welcomed the results of the WIPO report. He told reporters that he wants all Thais to learn to develop innovations and use science and technology in their daily lives, according to the National News Bureau.

He added that funding for research and development has increased and his administration has worked to protect and commercially utilize intellectual property. The Prime minister urged researchers to find innovations that benefit low-income earners in a sustainable way, such as those that add value to agricultural goods.

The report also broke down rankings into subgroups defined by national income level. Thailand ranked high in several categories in the upper-middle-income group of countries.

The Kingdom ranked 5th overall in the upper-middle-income group, 6th in innovation output, 5th in innovation efficiency ratio, and 10th in quality of innovations.

The upper-middle-income group also includes China, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Turkey.