Speaking at the fifth Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ministerial Meeting, the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, reiterated South Africa's commitment to strengthening its BRICS partnerships in order to ensure that science, technology and innovation play an optimal role in enhancing the competitiveness of the BRICS economies and improving the quality of life of all citizens.


Minister Pandor said, "This critical task was entrusted to us by our heads of state when, at the G20 summit held here last year, they explicitly recognised innovation as a key driver for growth and sustainable development."


The two-day meeting, currently underway in Hangzhou, is themed "Leading through Innovation and Deepening Cooperation" and will address topics such as BRICS STI policies, cooperation in thematic areas, co-funding multilateral research and development projects, youth innovation and entrepreneurship, and science park cooperation.


The meeting is attended by ministers, deputy ministers and senior officials from the BRICS countries.


Through sharing and learning from experience, the meeting will tackle global and regional economic and social challenges.  It will also discuss the formulation of the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation and the BRICS 2018 STI Work Plan.


In her speech, Minister Pandor said that the BRICS Ministerial Meeting provided a valuable opportunity for ministers to share their respective experiences and expertise, particularly in formulating and implementing policies and strategies, which would ensure innovation-driven growth.


She said that the meeting was especially useful for her as her ministry was currently preparing a new White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation.


"The White Paper is intended to guide our efforts to ensure we are successful in promoting inclusive development in South Africa through science and innovation", she added.


Minister Pandor also said that the new policy document would focus on the role government should play in enabling innovation, notably by instilling a national innovation culture across all spheres of government.  She said this was an area where South Africa could learn much from its BRICS partners.


The meeting began on 17 July 2017 and will finish today.