Syrian Economic and Social Capacity:
Technological Innovation

A Phase IV assessment

In the chart below, 8 dimensions of Syria’s capacity to adapt to threats and opportunities are shown, from left (“Economy”) to right (“Religion”). Taken together, the 8 dimensions of the x-axis offer a comprehensive, holistic view of Syria’s capacity to govern itself.  

Technological Innovation is important because it reveals the capacity of the country to solve physical problems. The greater the capacity of Syria's capacity for technological innovation enables the more effectively the country will respond to existential threats.

The Question

The level of a country’s technology capability can be seen in its basic technology, and the adequacy of 6 elements of technological capability: 

  • technology education
  • technology workers
  • systemic infrastructure
  • entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • regulatory framework
  • massive research funding to address global threats.

Which of the following is most true for the country?

The Levels

1. Almost all people lack full access in their lives to basic technology—electricity, clean water, sanitation, agricultural machinery, and basic vaccines. (This was the highest level chosen.) 
        (1.2 was the average of the levels chosen.)
2. There are centers where people have full access to basic technology, and none of the 6 elements needed to create new technology. (This was the lowest level chosen, and the level most often chosen.)

25 prime actors participated in determining the ability of Syria to respond to existential threats based on its current civil society. 

In the chart, higher levels indicate greater capacity within that dimension for Syrians to respond effectively to existential global threats, from Level 1 (very weak) to 8 (very strong).

  • The highest rating: light green. 
  • The average rating: a triangle.  
  • The level identified most often: a cross. 
  • The lowest rating: dark green
Syria R3 INCA TI 180304ew.jpg

Level 2: Participants made the following statements to support their assessment of Syrian technological innovation as best characterized as Level 2:

Most people lack access in their lives to basic technology—electricity, clean water, sanitation, agricultural machinery, and basic vaccines.

Round 3 participants stated (Nov 2016 - July 2017):

“There is nothing technological left. There is no technological development. Syria is very rich in natural resources, but Bashar Al Assad didn't develop anything. Wealth that came from its resources went to the Assad clan. All scholarships went to the Alawites. Hardly any went to anyone else.” (230713)
“We have a corrupted system of education. Most university professors are Baath Party members. People can graduate on connections without doing the work.” (231641)
“Whatever used to exist has been destroyed, either through war or Israeli air raid. Education in the field is impossible because of regulations. There is no support for an entrepreneurial system.” (233911)
“Agrees with all the comments from previous rounds. The government did not allocate money to technology. In most countries, if you invent something useful you have the right to benefit from it. Not in Syria. At one point unemployment in Syria was 31%. No outside investment was allowed. Some secret research organizations did work for the government, but the public did not benefit.” (233881)
“The infrastructure is gone” (238631)
“This worsens because of the on-going civil war, especially in the last few months.” (232272)
“Science education may exist in elementary school.” (235781)
“Some third-party actors like Russia or Iran may be importing high tech weapons.” (234281)
“These exist on paper only. When you want to start a business government representatives have to be there. This is outside the law. They become partners in the business despite the interest of the owner. They also take most of the income. If the owner protests he will be killed.” (233081)
“The country has been in war for 6 years. Technology is not a priority.” (235931)
“The only innovation is in barrel bombs to stomp out the armed opposition. Everything that did exist has disappeared.” (239311)
“When the military is everything engineers go there. It strips the economy of their services. Syria is still more advanced technologically than some parts of the Middle East. They aren't rich, but they do have military capacity and major support from a powerful military, Russia. It had an education system. It's gone now. The brain drain is enormous. There is a weird technological development as spill over from the military, like when we got canned food because the military needed it.” (239312)

Round 2 participants stated (Aug 2016 - Oct 2016):

"Before the conflict Syria ranked similarly to its neighbors in scientific education. Since Bashar Al Assad the level of teaching went down because national exam scores were altered by people with influence to favor their children. Now there are no educational standards. Grades are bought and sold. Over 2 million children are not going to school." (221641)
"Whatever infrastructure that existed before has been destroyed by the war. The education system is archaic, established by the French, then Soviets, force-feeding instruction without a research concept. Bashar al-Assad tried to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem, but the country was too corrupt to go beyond the first step." (223911) 
" The country has not dedicated more than 1% of the national budget to education. There is very little invested in research. Money is spent on arms and security. This is not healthy for the government." (223881)