With the global transformation of the world economy, knowledge and information technology become a key factor for the economic competitiveness.
Saudi Arabia realized that the overall national development must be built on knowledge. This requests the establishment of scientific and technical skills and equipment of scientific research, the development of institutional structures and systems, and the investment in human capital. Therefore, it has built a national policy for science and technology and has established strategic plans to join up with the knowledge-based economies.
In this perspective, we pursue through this research to study the impact of the engagement of Saudi Arabia in the knowledge economy (according to the plans and policies related to education and training, scientific research and infrastructure) on its economic competitiveness among a sample of some comparable countries.
As for empirical side, we tried through many indicators of knowledge and competitiveness, to rate Saudi Arabia in a sample of the countries the most dependent on export of fuel commodities. We used statistical methods of multivariate descriptive analyzes (principal component analysis (PCA) and agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) to detect the relative position of the Saudi economy. We developed a typology of the samples on the basis of a set of twelve economic and institutional indicators that reflect the development of the knowledge economy and affect the level of competitiveness. The results proved that Saudi Arabia has to improve institutional development, knowledge infrastructure and innovation capacities to join most competitive economies.