This paper employs both descriptive and comparative approaches to discuss science and technology (S&T) development in Arab countries in the Gulf and Mediterranean regions. Throughout the paper we use the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s definition of S&T indicators (OECD,1997). From this research we find that neither the Gulf nor the Mediterranean countries investigated possess sufficient human or financial resources to promote S&T performance. We show that the low level of resources devoted to S&T development together with inadequate economic structures mean that the Gulf and Mediterranean Arab countries lag behind the world’s advanced and leading developing countries in terms of S&T input and output indicators. In both regions, most of the research, development and S&T activities occur within public and academic sectors, with only a very small contribution from the private sector. When comparing S&T indicators between the two Arab regions we find that despite the high standard of economic development in the Gulf countries, as measured by gross domestic product per capita and the human development index, it is the Mediterranean countries that perform better in most of the S&T input and output indicators. Furthermore, we show that there is very limited scientific cooperation within and between the Gulf and Mediterranean countries as well as between them and other Arab countries. In contrast, three Arab countries from the Mediterranean region – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia – show active scientific cooperation with the international community, especially the OECD and France in particular. This implies that social proximity (sharing similar language, culture, etc.) can hardly help regional scientific cooperation within the Arab world; it is geographical proximity to Europe that motivates these countries’ international scientific cooperation.