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Innovation critical to combat COVID-19, economic recovery: S. African President


FILE PHOTO: South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Innovation, science and technology would be handy in defeating COVID-19 and rebuilding world economies, said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa’s speech was read by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande on Friday at a virtual science and innovation conference on COVID-19.

Ramaphosa said the conference is a platform for all stakeholders to share experiences, best practice and find a solution to combat COVID-19.

“Strategic partnership in science, technology and innovation will play an important in our economic recovery. As we continue and repurpose our economies, we will need to explore opportunities in sectors such as low carbon energy, the circular and green economies, smart manufacturing and bit data,” said Ramaphosa.

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He called for the momentum to be maintained in international solidarity to ensure there is economic recovery and accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment if found. Ramaphosa emphasized that the treatment should be accessible to all countries and no country should be left behind.

“As we collectively strive to overcome this pandemic, we must share experiences and expertise. There is immense potential for kick-starting economic growth in the uptake of innovation and driving technological solutions for the delivery of services,” he said.

Nzimande said South Africa has been funding some multifaceted research to tackle the COVID-19 and it is willing to work with others to find solutions to the pandemic.

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“We value science diplomacy, inclusivity and equity in the application of science gains to improve lives, systems and reconstruction of the economy and related value chains,” he said.

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