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Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina on innovation and the digital economy being key in economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic

2 Oct 2020

Innovation is an imperative in economic recovery efforts – Deputy Minister Gina

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has challenged delegates at the South African Innovation Summit 2020, to ensure that innovation and the digital economy are at the forefront of driving economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She was addressing the Inventors Garage session on the third day of the Innovation Summit 2020.  The South African Innovation Summit is an annual flagship event programme that nurtures, develops and showcases African innovation, as well as facilitate innovation thought-leadership. 

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the DTIC), is in partnership with the South African Innovation Summit (SAIS) to bring the 2020 Innovation Summit which ends tomorrow. 

“Innovation and digitisation will be necessary conditions for building this economy and will help build various Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) of the new economy," said Gina

She added: “It is not an exaggeration that the symbiosis of innovation and digital economy is now a pervasive juggernaut that is globally tearing down any inhibitive firewalls. It offers no space for naysayers whose intent is to swim against its tide. We all have to adapt and strive to be the best in it, if we are to survive and prosper. Old economic methods are dying a natural death, and digital economy whose bedrock is Innovation is taking over.”

Today’s session also saw the launch of the Grassroots Innovators Programme called the Khoebo Innovation Promotion Programme (KIPP). The KIPP will have two sub-schemes. 

Firstly, the Small Medium Enterprise Growth Scheme which is looking at enterprises already in existence and are looking to scale and penetrate new markets. Secondly, the Grassroots Innovation Funding Scheme (GIFS), where focus will be on grassroots innovators that are at startup phase or trading in a small scale.

The DTIC has partnered with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) on the KIPP. The implementation of the programme throughout the country will happen in line with the rural and township economic revitalisation focus of government. The main aim is to give support for grassroots innovators. 

“This Summit must answer the question: where is South Africa amongst the countries who have embraced the 4th Industrial Revolution as its norm, the advent of innovation. Where are we, within the continent, as this country. What is it that needs to be changed and what support mechanisms are required so that we can gallop to the frontline and be part of this new economic phenomenon,’’ added Gina.

She concluded by saying that she was encouraged that on the digital side, President Cyril Ramaphosa chairs a 4th Industrial Revolution Commission whose work should find concrete expression in the Innovation Summit to the innovators or alternatively, the results of this summit and outcomes must find resonance and add-value to the Presidential 4th  industrial Revolution Commission. 

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental SpokespersonTel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774

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