The Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, hosted the 6Th BRICS Science Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting this week in Durban. The theme of this year’s meeting was “leveraging science, technology and innovation through inclusive growth and development”.
The BRICS STI Ministerial Meeting’s theme connects to the main theme of the 10th BRICS Summit, which is taking place later this month. The theme for the Summit is “BRICS in Africa: Cooperation for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
The meeting also had a strong focus on the youth and entrepreneurship, with Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane being the youngest minister in the South African government at the age of 40. Another discussion point on the agenda was the creation of a panel that will help South Africa migrate from research ideas and technology to commercialised output.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane stated that science, technology and information needs to made more readily available and accessible for the ordinary citizen, and that citizens should not fear the 4th Industrial Revolution. He said that although it might result in the redundancy of lower skilled jobs, citizens should be made ready for the coming change and the new types of jobs that will be created, that’ll require more expertise and higher education.
Although other BRICS members are a step head of South Africa in terms of Science and Technology, South Africa has great potential and has shown it has the ability to catch up, as proven with the world’s largest telescope Array and South African scientists going to Brazil to help contain the Zika virus.
The announcement that both South Africa and China will launch a joint science research centre and Research fund, as wells a call for the creation of a BRICS Vaccine Research Centre, were made at the meeting. The meeting conclude with the Durban Declaration which is the establishment of a BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution, and South Africa will explore mobilising STI resources in support of this initiative.