THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION TO VISIT SILICON VALLEY IN THE USA

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande will be visiting the Silicon Valley in the USA from Monday 25 April to Friday 29 April 2022.

 

The purpose of the Minister’s visit is to gain insights into the policy, funding and other interventions, which ensure the unique success of the internationally renowned Silicon Valley ecosystem, in order to inform the implementation of South Africa’s new Decadal Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation.  The Minister will also identify and conclude new partnership arrangements for the South African National System of Innovation, with the multinational companies, universities and other global R&D leaders located in Silicon Valley.    

 

“Building capabilities through education and research, development and innovation are a prerequisite for national economic competitiveness and is viewed as critical for poverty alleviation, addressing the inequalities in society and delivering on the inclusive and equitable vision as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP),” said Minister Nzimande. Minister Nzimande further said rapidly evolving technologies have the potential to spur industrial development, attract investments as well as creating the conditions for inclusive growth. 

 

The Minister said it is crucial to visit global sites that have had remarkable success to actively learn, consider the application possibilities for our own country and identify the critical success factors. 

 

“Silicon Valley is home to many start-up and global technology companies that could serve as important case studies for our own context. This will be an important tool for understanding how we can leverage the 4IR to revitalise the economy,” said Minister Nzimande. 

 

The Minister said as of 2019, it was estimated that there were around 440 innovation hubs and centres across the continent. Yet, South Africa not seeing the same impact on growth or job creation as other regions. 

 

There are lessons here to be learnt from successful case studies. As the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, poignantly said, “What we need to do as Africa is recognise that it’s not oil or gas or minerals that’s going to determine our competitiveness in the world, it’s knowledge and the ability to innovate and create mega-businesses that are going to be the Google and Facebooks of this world.”

 

Minister Nzimande said the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is located at the centre of South Africa’s (SA) digital revolution. In order to access a technocratic future, where AI and neural networks play a significant role, government has to adopt an interventionist approach.   One of the key engagements during the Minister’s visit will therefore be with World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, of which South Africa hosts an Affiliate Centre at the CSIR.

 

The Minister said in order to trigger the industrial and research applications of the 4IR, there is a need to bolster investment in human capital and identify key areas of the economy which require investment. Noting the recent declines in the performance of the SA economy, an approach has to be adopted in order to create competitive advantages. Unemployment in the country is now classified the highest in the world and our growth rate remains too low to meaningfully create opportunities. 

 

The Minister is accompanied by senior officials of both the Department of Higher Education and Training and Science and Innovation, leaders of some of the science councils and Vice Chancellor of some South African universities.

 

Issued by:

Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

DST Building (53), CSIR Campus

Meiring Naude Road

Brummeria

Pretoria

Enquiries: Ishmael Mnisi 0660378859

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