Posted: October 10, 2019
Innovation is Key in Making South Africa Productive and Competitive
|Innovation is key in making South Africa more productive and competitive. That was said by the Chief Director of Innovation and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms Nonkululeko Shinga. Shinga was addressing innovators and stakeholders during the Grassroots Innovation Workshop hosted in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.
The hosting of the workshop follows an exercise that was undertaken by the dti to search for grassroots innovators in rural and township areas. The exercise was aimed at establishing accessibility to the dti’s innovation support instruments by underserviced citizens in line with government’s drive to revitalise township and rural economies.
“Innovation is also key to answering the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. It can create a difference in addressing urgent development challenges such as providing access to renewable energy, clean drinking water and air,” said Shinga.
According to Shinga, most innovators remain excluded from government support instruments due to lack of information. She said to that in order to fulfil the dti’s mandate of inclusive growth through stimulating township and rural industrialisation, the department has embarked on the drive to scout for grassroots innovations worthy of scaling up.
“The grassroots innovations play a great role in propelling the South African economy onto a higher growth trajectory. They seek innovative processes that are socially inclusive towards local communities in terms of the knowledge, processes and outcomes whether in rural or urban setting.
Shinga also pointed out that small, medium and micro enterprises have a potential to develop and use innovations that lead to new products and processes, thus increasing industrial competitiveness, which in turn leads to industrial and socio-economic development.
A grassroots innovator is an individual who often undertakes innovative efforts to solve localised problems using local resources and capabilities, and generally works outside the realm of formal organisations like business firms or research institutes.