Brics countries should embrace innovation: Minister Radebe

28 October 2014

Brics countries must continue to embrace innovation as a key driver for economic growth, delegates at the 3rd Annual innovaBRICS & Beyond Conference taking place in London heard on Monday, 27 October.

Speaking at the official opening of the conference, Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe said innovation is a powerful engine for development and for addressing social and global challenges.

“I can also affirm that innovation is centrally located in South Africa’s long term economic growth strategy, which includes a focus on the pharmaceutical industry, indigenous knowledge and rich biodiversity,’ said Radebe.

South Africa is determined to develop its research capacity in order to fuel innovation to drive economic growth, according to Radebe. The country is also coming up with development programmes to support young, female and black researchers.

“In that regard, we are putting in place an ambitious programme to develop the next generation of academics and researchers. Over the next five years, our target is to spend 1.5% of GDP on research and development.’

Radebe is leading the South African delegation at innovaBRICS which includes the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

innovaBRICS provides a platform for emerging markets to discuss innovation and features leading public figures and business people from different countries and industries. The primary objective of the conference is to create a global network to explore investment opportunities and challenges emerging economies face in their endeavour to become future key players in the global economy.

South Africa is using the conference as a platform to popularise its National Development Plan (NDP), a blueprint for ending poverty and reducing inequality by 2030, according to Radebe.

“The NDP aims to unlock the institutional, human and structural impediments to higher growth in the country.

“It offers a framework for faster growth and socio-economic transformation. The Brics countries are an important part of this strategy,’ said Radebe.

Adding, Radebe said innovaBRICS is a unique opportunity to promote closer cooperation between Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries. He said the Brics bloc is one of the most recognised in the world, and account for more than a quarter of global GDP.

Forty-three percent of the world’s population resides in Brics countries and the bloc holds 40% of global currency reserves, estimated at around US$4.4-trillion.

SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov

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