By Iris Wu
The 6th Zhejiang College Students’ “Internet Plus” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition-Virtual Forum on China-Africa & China-South Africa Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has been successfully hosted online by Zhejiang Province and Zhejiang Normal University on 18 August 2020.
More than 100 delegates online from China, South Africa and other African countries attended the forum.
Secretary of Planning Commission, The Presidency, South Africa, Mr Tshediso Matona, addressed and opened the forum online. He mentioned the significance that the forum convened under the auspices and spirit of China’s bilateral relations with South Africa, and with Africa under FOCAC.
SA’s bilateral policy towards China seeks mutual benefit through solidarity, partnerships and cooperation between the governments, companies and institutions in the fields of economic development, science and technology, education, and entrepreneurial capacity and expertise.
Matona said that South Africa’s priorities outlined in National Development Plan-vision 2030; currently the most urgent to stimulate economic recovery, especially the impact of Covid-19, and long-term growth path; reduce poverty and unemployment and create opportunities for sustainable income generation and livelihoods for people, especially youth.
Therefore, Matona commended the initiative to convene the forum on the topic of Innovation and Youth Entrepreneurship, which is fully aligned with South Africa’s National priorities.
He expects that the forum will make a much-needed contribution to our efforts to address the burning challenge of youth unemployment in South Africa.
This challenge has been growing and will be even more significant due to the impact of Covid-19, and will face all of the African continents.
Matona said that no country could develop and improve the standards of living of its citizens without entirely putting into productive use its human capital, in particular the youth who are the majority of the population in South Africa, and in the African continent.
He thanked China for being willing to give South Africa and other African countries access to it’s strategies and policies, knowledge and successful experience, from which other countries extremely eager to learn and to benefit.
Dr Nora Clarke gave a presentation on Student Entrepreneurship Development in South Africa on behalf of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The presentation was emphasised that the forum is perfectly aligned with DHET’s Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme.
Dr Clarke gave a comprehensive explanation of objectives of EDHE Programme, including positioning entrepreneurship development at a strategic level in universities; optimising entrepreneurship development through best practice; developing partnerships to advance entrepreneurship development; facilitate and implement entrepreneurship-related initiatives primarily focused on the student market; and increase the participation of young women in business, given that approximately 62% of graduates at South African public universities are women.
Dr Clarke concluded her presentation with a warm invitation of EDHE Lekgotla and Studentpreneurs Indaba 2020, which is on 15-18 September this year.
The forum continued for more than three hours. It included discussion and exchanges of experience that the China-Africa Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum excels in times of difficulty with the downward pressure of the economy of China and Africa coupled with the severe unemployment situation of China-Africa youth due to Covid-19 epidemic.
The forum focuses on the innovation and entrepreneurship of Chinese and African youth, which will provide a new growth pole for the economic and social development for both China and African countries. It also offers additional new ideas and channels for the construction of a China-Africa community with a shared future.
At the same time, from the perspectives of the government, enterprises, and universities, the participants exchanged views and experiences on how to stimulate the vitality of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst Chinese and African youths, broaden the space for cooperation in innovation and entrepreneurship, and how to create a favourable policy and institutional environment for innovation and entrepreneurship for the Chinese and African young people.