Nzimande urges more innovation investment

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Transport minister Blade Nzimande has encouraged SA's business sector to invest in innovation, noting this will result in long-term benefits for the country.

According to Nzimande, only 0.7% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) goes towards research, technology and innovation.

This, he says, is below the African continent's average of 0.9%. Meanwhile, the average of highly developed states in Europe sits at about 5%.

"It is through innovation that South Africa will meet its growth and development objective, and bring it on par to international standards," says Nzimande.

The transport minister's sentiments echo those previously noted by other government officials and private sector players that not enough investment goes towards boosting innovation in SA.

In 2017, former science and technology minister Naledi Pandor indicated government was looking to investment in research and development (R&D) to increase from 0.7%, to 1.5% of GDP, doubling to roughly R60 billion a year by 2020.

The 2018 National Survey of Research and Experimental Development, released by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), revealed SA's total investment in R&D amounted to R35.6 billion in the 2016/2017 period.

The DST survey shows gross expenditure on R&D increased by R3.3 billion in 2016/2017 compared to the year before. In 2015/2016, the survey found institutional sectors spent R32.3 billion on R&D.

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