This paper is based on the premise that all countries, especially under-developed ones, need to invest in science and technology (S&T).

It describes and compares Arab countries in the Gulf and Mediterranean regions with others around the world and finds that that neither the Gulf nor the Mediterranean countries investigated possess sufficient human or financial resources to enhance S&T performance.

The paper finds that the role of the private sector in research and development is non-existent and that high scores of Gulf countries on gross domestic product and human development indices do not necessarily translate into high scores in S&T indicators.

The paper also finds a lack of cooperation within and between Gulf and Mediterranean countries and the rest of the Arab world. However, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia show active scientific cooperation with the international community, particularly with countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, notably France. The study suggests geographical proximity, rather than social proximity alone, may also spur S&T collaboration.

The paper is useful for S&T policymakers in OIC countries, Arab countries in particular.