Kazakhstan launched a technological "reset" of the Muslim world – expert opinion

The Astana OIC summit on science and technology, held on September 10-11, demonstrated the claims of the Islamic world to participate in global innovation development competition.

It is the opinion of Yerzhan Saltybaev, Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan. He has emphasized that the idea of holding the summit was announced in 2016 in Istanbul by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. It has been a Kazakhstan’s initiative that a new common agenda should be set up within the OIC framework, which should aim at scientific and innovative development.

As a matter of fact, during the Astana summit, Kazakhstan acted as a moderator working towards the resetting of the entire global Muslim community. All the voiced proposals by the Head of state fall precisely within this line.

Today, there is a clear understanding that if the processes of modernization and scientific and technological development do not get a boost, the 1.5 billion people under the OIC may be left behind in the context of global transformations. And the level of technological gap might turn out to be insurmountable.

On average, Muslim countries spend about 0.5% of their GDP on research and development. Compared to the world average of 1.78% of GDP and the average of above 2% in the OECD countries, it becomes clear that education and science funding remains extremely inadequate.

To ensure sustainable development, Muslim countries need to keep pace with the global world, which requires large-scale coordination of efforts of all OIC countries, and first of all, of the leading countries.

In this regard, Nazarbayev's decision to create a club of 15 advanced OIC states, which could work in the format of the "Big Twenty" in worth mentioning in particular.

The creation of OIS-15 is well-grounded. It is assumed that an elite club of the leading economies of the Islamic world will be formed, which account for 86% of the total GDP of this organization. Kazakhstan now ranks the 14th in terms of the GDP among the OIC member countries and is also the largest economy in such a critical region as Central Asia.

In the future, similarly to the G-20, the OIS-15 format could set the agenda of the most pressing issues of the Islamic world and be instrumental in developing consensus solutions. Besides, the advanced OIC countries should strive to set and shape global trends in the field of innovation.

In our opinion, the informal platform for the largest economies of the OIC could also speed up the harmonization of approaches to pressing international issues among Muslim states. And the implementation of a coordinated line of action is simply necessary in the present conditions when the world is facing another round of economic crises and the exacerbation of geopolitical tensions.