Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina has called on government and academia to join forces in identifying sustainable development models for reindustrialisation and economic growth.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at the inaugural Economic Research Advisory Network (ERAN) Conference at the East London International Convention Centre in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

She says the current period of expedition to reindustrialise and make substantial value-addition to South Africa’s raw materials requires a dynamic, innovative and creative African researcher, who understands that the quest for economic transformation is premised on socio-economic justice.

“This new generation of African researchers must understand that inclusive growth and development is critical. Increased participation of researchers and academia is important in the crafting and development of various iterations of the Industrial Development Policy in the country. Without these, our people will forever toil in poverty and underdevelopment,” says Masina.

The MEC of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs in the Eastern Cape, Sakhumzi Somyo, said research is a critical enabler within the South African economy. He said the country needs the best minds working in the right direction to produce the best economic intelligence possible.

MEC Somyo said South Africa currently stands ahead of its peers on the African continent, with command of a large purse of resources – natural, financial and human resources.

The MEC called on researchers and other delegates at the conference to use their energy to solve the complex economic puzzles which will unlock South Africa’s full potential.

ERAN is an economic research advisory network coordinated by the Department of Trade and Industry. It comprises representatives from national and provincial economic development departments, other government entities, universities and research institutions.