Using innovation as a key catalyst to develop economies

Gugu Cele | CNBC Africa

Innovation is a key catalyst to enhance, develop and grow economies and South Africa is not exception. These were some of the sentiments that were shared at the 2017 Symposium on Science Technology and Innovation in Tshwane.

The event, hosted by the National Advisory Council on Innovation with the support of the Department of Science and Technology, saw the release of the Indicators for Sustainable and Inclusive Socioeconomic development.

These indicators aid government, business and civil society to understand the current threats opportunities that exists within South Africa’s innovation landscape.

Key highlights from the 2016 Science, Technology and Innovation indicators reveal that South Africa has found itself making vast strides in creating an enabling environment for innovation development in the country.

Progress has been made with regard to education in encouraging learners to take on maths and science; some pressures continue to be felt regarding the enrolment levels of students at SET and institutions of higher learning. This has increased from 28.7% in 2005 to 29.9% in 2015.

In a panel discussion which was held as a highlight of the event, Mr Sizwe Nxasana, Chairman of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) said education systems in South Africa need to be enhanced. “Innovation and disruptive thinking needs to be taught at the foundation phase of our schooling system. New  and effective,  models also need to be explored and implemented.”

Mr Imraan Patel, Deputy Director-General at the Department of Science and Technology of the Department of Science and Technology agrees that education is a key enabler we also need to ensure that there is clear cohesiveness between the public and private sector within the innovation space. “We are aware that we can’t go it alone, as such government provides incentives and key tools to allow this partnership to take place. This has also yielded great results thus far”

South Africa’s progress in the innovation space is measured in a multi-pronged approach; as a result its outcomes also go hand in hand with the objectives of the national development plan.

Economist and NACI council member, Dr Azar Jammine mentioned that whilst, the NDP highlights growth objectives of 5% per annum, South Africa has experienced declined levels of foreign direct investment due to subdued levels of growth. South Africa saw FDI flows which accounted for 0.56% of GDP in 2016.

Dr Sébastien Dessus, Program Leader at The World Bank followed this up with insight on the registration of patents, which is traditionally used as a measure of innovation in South Africa. “Whilst IP registrations are improving in South Africa, majority are from private institutions. This needs to change and the global system opens up.”

With the current economic trajectory of South Africa, great potential still exists for the country to harness additional support to enhance levels of innovation in order to make a strong economic contribution for society as a whole.

Related Content

Huawei Enterprise hosts online Summit aimed at presenting how the digital transformation can lead the financial services sector out of COVID-19

Download logoHuawei Enterprise Business Group (EBG) ( will host the Huawei Southern Africa FSI Summit online 2020 ( on May 29th, from 10.00am - 12.00pm, with the theme of “Accelerating Digital Transformation, Enable Business Growth Again”. The online summit will include presentations from Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, and Chen Kun Te, Huawei Chief Digital Transformation Officer. Speaking on Huawei’ experien

DMWA Resources endorses Equal by 30 Campaign, encouraging more women to become Players in the Energy Sector

DMWA Resources (, a pan-African energy marketing & investment holding, endorses the gender equity campaign, Equal by 30, which aims to encourage women in the clean energy sector to access equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities. Alongside 6 partner organisations, DMWA increases the total of signatories to 144, including 118 organisations, 13 partners and 13 governments. By having a limited workforce, companies are not drawing upon the full range of talent at

Achieving business resiliency in the new reality of work

By Ronnie Toerien, Oracle ( HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader – Africa It seemed to happen very quickly. The world changed, and businesses worldwide found themselves trying to operate in the face of unprecedented upheaval. Yet, it must be noted that the world of work was already transitioning long before recent global events. A fundamental change was already impacting the workplace in the form of emerging technologies and evolving business models, and

The role of Human Capital Management in the new world of work

By Ronnie Toerien, Oracle ( HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader – Africa The world of work has been changing for some time, particularly over the last decade as emerging technologies equipped enterprises with the tools to operate with greater efficiency, innovate and explore a new potential. However, unprecedented events in 2020, have accelerated this transformation at an unimaginable pace. With mandates to work from home if possible, the disruption o

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Nigeria’s money market review

Traders say the high demand and poor supply characterising Nigeria’s forex market for the past few months have resulted in fairly stable rates observed in the trading days this week. Ifeoma Onyejekwe, Fixed Income Trader at UBA joins CNBC Africa for more....

COVID-19 lock-down: Rwanda permits taxi-moto operations & inter- provincial travel

This morning it was announced that taxi motos are now permitted to accept passengers again after over two months of being off the road due to the dangers around the spread of Covid-19. This is good news not only for many of the 45,000 taxi-motorists in the country that depend on the income, but also for the thousands of citizens that they transport daily. CNBC Africa spoke to analyst, Moses Gahigi for more.

President Buhari to AfDB President Adesina: “I’ll stand by you”

While hosting African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina on a courtesy visit at State House on Tuesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the country will support Adesina in his bid to get re-elected as President of the multilateral bank.

NSE looks to deepen sustainable finance market segments in West Africa

The Nigeria Stock Exchange in collaboration with the Milken Institute is set to host the inaugural edition of the Webinar Series on Sustainable Capital Markets Forum geared towards promoting Green Finance in West Africa. Jude Chiemeka, Head of Trading Business Division of the Nigerian Stock Exchange joins CNBC Africa for more.

Partner Content

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

VIVO CEO is a dynamic leader for this innovative global brand

May 2020 -- Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to...

Trending Now

Cannon Asset Managers CEO on how to position your portfolio for a depression

In 2006, little known economics professor Nouriel Roubini warned that the US housing market was at risk of collapsing. Fast forward two years and it did, triggering the global financial crisis. Roubini, now known is Dr Doom is forecasting another economic depression, contradicting the consensus view the recovery from Covid-19 will be V-shaped. Dr Adrian Saville, CEO of Cannon Asset Managers joins CNBC Africa for more.

How Covid-19 is driving demand for internet services

With students working from home, companies across industries forced to move online and video conferencing services being more utilized now than ever; broadband, WiFi and mobile data capacity seems to be getting tested like never before. So can internet service providers stand up to the test? Robert Nkeramugaba, Senior Network Operations Manager, BSC joins CNBC Africa for more.

Uganda moves to phased reopening amid rising of COVID-19 cases

In Uganda, according to president Yoweri Museveni, the country will go ahead with its plan to re-open the country despite recording more than 150 Covid-19 cases in three days. Moreover, European Union gives Uganda about $198 million to fund coronavirus response. CNBC Africa spoke to Qatahar Raymond Mujuni, a journalist for more.

Nigerian Equities Wrap: Market momentum wanes

The consumer goods index of the Nigerian Stock Exchange was among the top-performing indices in May. Onyeka Ijeoma, Analyst at Vetiva joins CNBC Africa to discuss what to expect from the equities market this week....
- Advertisement -