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South Africa signs science parks agreement with China


Partnership to link Innovation Hub in Pretoria with incubator in Xi’an

[SFSA2020] South Africa and China are to create joint science parks in both countries to act as springboards for cross-border innovation and industrial development. 

The agreement was signed during the online Science Forum South Africa on 9 to 11 December. 

The first step of the agreement is for South Africa’s Innovation Hub to set up an incubator and innovation showroom in a science park in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities. The Chinese science park in Xi’an will do the same at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria. 

These will become operational in 2021. Next year will also see exchanges between the two sites and the start of a drive to attract commercial tenants interested in drawing on the cross-border benefits of the initiative. 

By 2022, the two hubs will have evolved into mature cross-border innovation systems, a Chinese official told the 11 December signing ceremony. The partnership is ”a model for a new age,” he said. 

Daan du Toit, who heads international cooperation and resources at South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation, called the science park agreement “a fantastic milestone” and “an important new chapter” in his country’s relationship with China. 

He said there is “a rich potential” for Chinese and South African enterprises to work together, develop new technologies, and access new markets. But the most important role of the partnership will be to put technology to use for the benefit of South Africa and China, he added.