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IDC seeks Africa’s next Innovator

August 30, 2011 • Events, Top Stories

South Africa’s 4th Innovation Summit got underway this morning at the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) corporate offices in Sandton, Johannesburg in South Africa.

Geoffrey Qhena, ID CEO

Geoffrey Qhena, IDC CEO discussed the important role the IDC plays in Africa’s Innovation.

“About R102 billion (about US$14,4 billion) has been invested for the next 5 years in order to boost South Africa’s economy,” says Qhena.

Qhena says the investment would assist local companies to tap into Africa’s vast business opportunities.

“The IDC is looking at other countries and institutions for great innovative ideas, for example Brazil’s biofuel technology. Many countries are looking into the region for technology and biofuel innovation,” says Qhena.

Qhena gave an example of how India has dedicated the next 10 years to the country’s innovation plans.

“It took 40 years of Innovation for South Korea and Japan to grow their economy,” says Qhena.

Focus on Africa

Qhena says in order for South African companies to enter Africa’s business environment efficiently, they need regional integration. He says the IDC needs to support innovation from other Africa countries.

“ South Africa can’t be the only prosperous region,” says Qhena.

“Close to a billion people live in Africa, the business ideas should be able to access a bigger market,” he says.

“Africa will be able to embrace the spirit of innovation. “

The Role of the IDC

“The role of the IDC is to finance and execute Research and Development (R&D) projects by making venture capital available and increasing employment in a knowledge intensive economy,” says Qhena.

“In SA about 25,7% of the population is unemployed. Innovation will be the main driver to curb the scourge of unemployment,” says Qhena.

“Innovation is the key driver for a new growth plan especially the green economy, it offers new opportunities to source ideas.”

Follow the Innovation Summit twitterfall on #SA_Innovate

Bontle Moeng

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