Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Science and Technology Minister, has stated that our country is not leading in technology expansion or even in our research and development initiatives.
In an interview with News24, Pandor said “Most of the IT research and development spend is for second-hand innovation. We are not on the frontier of IT innovation. We import technologies from abroad and adapt them for local use”
In discussions at the IT Infrastructure Summit in Cape Town, Pandor explored how technology improvements could further both private and public organisations. The main focus was on broadband internet that is currently being set up to give all Universities and Research centres access to the online sphere. This will be provided by SANReN (South African National Research Network).
“We can do more to encourage start-ups and it’s in the IT and high tech sector that we see most of these developing” – Minister of Science and Technology.
South Africa is currently bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope in the Northern Province. Tester telescopes have already been built but the actual SKA event will be made up of 3000 radio active linked telescopes which is expected to improve South Africa’s technology position on the innovation front.
Tax credits are presumably going to increase soon as Pandor stated, “We are working on improving the credit and Treasury is working on improving it in tandem with a new venture capital regime – announced in the budget this year.”
It is quite clear that further technology improvements and innovations are vital. Innovation from within the continent as opposed to imported advancements would increase first-hand African innovation.