Deputy director-general of Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Sipho Zikode delivering a keynote speech at the South African innovation summit in Cape Town. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Trade and industry deputy director general of special economic zones and economic transformation, Sipho Zikode has pledged government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment where primary innovators can be able to express their talents in developing new innovative products and processes as part of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) initiatives.

Zikode was delivering a keynote address at the official opening of the South African innovation summit (SAIS) that opened at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

The South African innovation summit is an annual flagship event on the South African innovation calendar that nurtures, develops and showcases African innovation, as well as facilitate innovation thought-leadership.

Zikode also cautioned against the labelling of the 4IR as a monster that is hell-bent on taking away jobs and disrupting the conventional way of life.

“The world must embrace the 4IR because it is a new way of doing business that will be with us for a foreseeable future, and as government and society we should collaborate in creating the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to adapt and adopt the 4IR technologies for the creation of a better life for all,” said Zikode.

Zikode argued that traditional ways of industrial development and industrial financing must be overhauled as development funding institutions and commercial banks are too risk-averse.

“I am sure you will agree with me that regardless of how well-designed your economic development strategy is and how well-crafted your industrial strategy is, if your strategy is not underpinned by deep entrenched innovation systems, you will always find yourself behind the curve when it comes to developing new globally competitive products and services,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA)