PRETORIA, South Africa has launched a co-operation programme which will see the country looking to China for its expertise in constructing high-technology facilities with global growth potential.
South Africa is confident it can build an industrial development partnership with global growth potential in areas such as information communication technologies (ICTs), advanced manufacturing, bio-economy, and renewable energy, among others.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yangdong launched the South Africa-China Science Park Co-operation in Pretoria on Monday during the inaugural China-South Africa High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM).
A high-level Chinese delegation arrived in South Africa over the weekend to co-host the three-day mechanism, which is expected to create opportunities for both countries to benefit from the sharing of social, cultural and economic capital across government, academia, business and civil society.
The two countries hope that the mechanism will deepen mutual understanding between the peoples of South Africa and China, and enhance people-to-people exchange and co-operation in the areas of culture, education, communications, health, science, technology, sports, tourism, women and youth.
Welcoming the launch of the science park initiative, Pandor said South Africa appreciates the global leadership provided by China on how to turn science and research effectively into innovation and production.
Pandor said South Africa is committed to the development of a network of science parks and Special Economic Zones at a scale and pace that matches the country’s fiscal and other resource realities.
Science parks worldwide are supporting university-industry-government collaboration, with the intent to advance knowledge and promote technological and economic developments.
One of the most advanced such parks in China is the Zhongguancun Science Park, which is one of the fastest growing technology centres in the world, gathering thousands of high and new technology enterprises featuring electronic information, bio-medicine, energy and environmental protection, new materials, advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering, research and development (R and D) and services.
Pandor said South Africa was looking to the development of multiple research and innovation spaces in a rational and sustainable way, which would tackle the spatial legacy left by apartheid planning.
In parallel to advancing a long-term, high-technology industrial development partnership, South Africa has identified short-term opportunities, which will offer significant opportunities for China to expand its R and D and innovation activities into South Africa.
This will include the development of new R and D facilities and infrastructure as well as strengthening existing facilities and infrastructure at universities, science councils and a number of private sector R and D efforts.
With the establishment of more than 100 science and technology parks across China, Liu said, co-operation was the highlight of the China-South Africa strategic partnership, which offered a new mechanism for both countries to catalyse growth and development.
The Vice-Premier said innovation was a driving force behind development, which has seen China’s economy grow enormously. For this reason, China is committed to sharing expertise with South Africa to promote high-tech innovation that will lead to more benefits for the people.
In order to implement the co-operation, business, scientists and government conducted a workshop during which they exchanged information and research on science parks. The two countries also signed two other co-operation agreements to establish a young scientists’ exchange programme and to establish joint research centres.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK