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Statement: Innovation A Crucial Driver for Prosperity and Growth

J Fubbs

Innovation is a crucial driver that continually creates new competitive advantages as well as opportunities for prosperity and growth. In South Africa, like in other countries, we are facing both opportunities as well as challenges. the Chief Director of Innovation and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms Nkuli Shinga, said recently in Pretoria.

The Chief Director of Innovation and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms Shinga was speaking at the World Bank presentation of the 10th edition of South Africa Economic Update. This edition reviewed South Africa's recent economic and social development, and its outlook in the context of global economic prospects. The focus was on the role of innovation in fostering economic growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty. Policymakers and implementers, have an opportunity and the responsibility to use innovation as a lever to address socio-economic challenges. We should not be daunted by the need for intensive capital and human development inputs. According Ms Shinga South Africans can explore simple innovative solutions to address these challenges and productivity growth.

According to World Bank's Lead Economist, Mr John Gabriel Goddard, the Update South Africa's innovation strengths need to be integrated more effectively with the rest of the economy and the filling of the skills gap. South Africa, he said should: "Harness innovation potential through improving investment climate for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), facilitating trade, strengthening competition in information and communication technologies" and this would increase the number of beneficiaries.

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