Pretoria: Industrialisation can be the answer to South Africa’s high unemployment rate, Trade and Industry Director General Lionel October says.
“South Africa still faces a challenge of alarming unemployment, but with a strong industrialisation strategy and broadening participation in the economy, the country can create a significant number of jobs,” said October.
He was speaking at the National Technology Awards that were hosted by the department at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Thursday night.
He said only 9% of the economy is in the hands of blacks. “We need to expand in making sure that black industrialists are created. The heart of expanding industrialisation should be the expansion of the entrepreneurs’ base, alongside broadening participation for black industrialists and creating the link between small and big businesses,” he added.
According to October, the best way to support Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is by grouping them together with the incubation programme having proven this.
“Currently government has launched 42 incubators, with the target of 250 in three years across the country and they have created quite a good number of jobs. This is the best platform that a country can use to promote broader economic participation.”
More than 250 business people in the ICT sector attended the awards, which consisted of 12 winners in different categories under the Seda Technology Programme (STP), The Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) and Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP).
The purpose of the awards is to raise awareness on the benefits of using technology to improve the competitiveness of enterprises.
The awards recognise individuals and organisations that contributed towards technology development and innovation in South Africa. They are also aimed at inspiring and encouraging creativity and technological innovativeness amongst business people by rewarding those that make use of technology to advance their business.