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Turkey among most innovation-ready nations in region

Staff writer |
Turkey and Algeria stand out among the most innovation-ready countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region, General Electric's report "Mapping the Future of Work in MENAT" has announced.

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GE's Innovation Barometer shows that some MENAT countries are already attuned to the power of creativity and innovation, and that Future of Work innovations will open important opportunities for domestic players.

Turkey and Algeria stand out as among the most innovation-ready countries in the region, based on the Innovation Barometer's results. Both rank among the top five countries measured, stating the two countries must encourage creative behaviors and disruptive processes in business.

"Turkey is an industrialized country and its population is very young and well-educated. Turkey can play a big role around how we apply our concept of future of manufacturing," said Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO of GE's MENAT Region to the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.

Turkey is also among the top five groups of respondents, stating that countries must quickly adopt emerging technologies to succeed, with 84 percent of respondents respectively, according to the report. Moreover, executives in Turkey believe large national companies can play as important a role as multinationals in driving the innovation process.

"Turkey still has a lot of potential to grow, for instance in energy, especially in renewable energy. The government should know that investors should be attracted to finance these projects. There are many people who are looking forward to the start of such projects. People will keep coming to Turkey as long as they know their investments are safe and profitable," Habayeb noted.

General Electric announced a $900 million investment plan for projects in Turkey for the following three-year period in 2012. The company also makes investment in innovation projects in Turkey.

"We already have one of the nine global innovation centers for aviation in Turkey. In five years, we achieved 300 percent of growth. Now we employ 320 young engineers and we are very proud of them," said Canan Özsoy, President and CEO of GE Turkey.

GE Turkey opened a new building for the innovation center in June 2014.

"In our new building, we'll start with 15-20 young engineers with new projects and ideas. The idea is to position our innovation center as a hub for our customers, academia and stakeholders. We start with 15-20 engineers and we can talk about their work and our progress in a year," Özsoy added. The MENAT region is composed of diverse economies.

"For instance, the Gulf countries have very rich natural resources and they want to use this money for public benefit. And it is attractive for many companies to finance such projects. We are very positive about these countries, as well as others in the region, which includes Turkey," said Habayeb.

In the report, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan are grouped as countries where oil production is either small or non-existent, but where significant progress has been made in improving the business environment and strengthening policy frameworks, fostering a more diversified economy.

"For these countries, further diversifying and strengthening the growth base is a long-standing challenge, particularly in cases where oil imports are a significant burden on external and fiscal accounts. Turkey is a case in point. Large energy imports make the country's external current account very sensitive to swings in crude oil prices; in some cases this has triggered investors' concern and weakened foreign direct investment flows," the report noted.


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