Welcome to the next instalment of EduWeek’s Global Goal Check in.
This week, we focus on Goal #9: Industry innovation & infrastructure
The aim – to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Fact of the day: More than 80% of the Sustainable Development Goals rely on infrastructure and industry to achieve any form of success.
This is indeed an exciting time to be alive in Africa, where entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable living have never been held in such high regard. According to Prof. Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, we are poised to experience a 4th Industrial Revolution, which will see an eclectic fusion of physical, digital and biological spheres, resulting in a complete evolution of ICT platforms, transport systems and supporting infrastructure development.
We will begin to see a new normal when it comes to industry innovation and infrastructure, a norm which will certainly find its genesis in the way we educate our children and build capacity in the workplace. It is vital to stimulate innovative and out-of-the-box thinking, which will promote sustainable development through fully customised, innovative solutions to the challenges we face.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor, realises the importance of teaching people how to think creatively. The Department is committed to developing infrastructure through its investment in research, promoting innovation, and building the country’s knowledge economy to improve productivity, health systems, education and infrastructure. Grants to researchers and institutions across the innovation value chain, as well as postgraduate bursaries are also being made available to realise South Africa’s development goals.
Coupled with the role played by research and learning is the influence of economic activity on infrastructure development. Over and above public sector investment in education, the country also relies heavily on foreign investment, as well as private sector funding. Stable economies, debt sustainability and well regulated funding structures go a long way to attracting the necessary finance. However, South Africa’s growth has slowed to 0.3% and fluctuating oil prices in Nigeria have negatively impacted the bankability of many projects.
We need to develop sound infrastructure and ensure economic growth and viability in the face of constant change, disruption and economic flux. Success herein lies in our ability to innovate, create and develop in a sustainable manner, something to be fostered from a young age, through to post graduate training and workforce development.
Some industry innovation in South Africa includes:
- SKA / MeerKat – Square meter array, the world’s largest telescope that will produce science that will change the way we see the world
- Huawei’s Open Lab – allowing collaboration with various industry partners in South Africa to create innovative solutions that enable digital transformation, while promoting industry ecosystem development
- Hybrid microgrid solar solutions – small scale solar power generation to bring electricity to rural areas
- Green building – zero emissions and low carbon buildings are taking off in South Africa. For example. Nedbank has been declared carbon neutral and applies certain standards to its offices and building practices
We are certainly entering an exciting era of industry innovation and infrastructure development. The time is now to open our minds to the possibilities that accompany change and exploit the opportunities that abound from a future based on innovation and creativity.
Look out for next week’s blog on Goal# 10: Reduced Inequalities.