BRICS Sherpa, Amb Anil Sooklal, SABYA BRICS Youth Innovation Summit message of support

Honourable Minister,
Leadership of SABYA,
Academics of Tshwane University of Technology & the Confucius Institute,
The CEOs of the NYDA, FP & MSETA,
Participants, Entrepreneurs & Innovators,
Ladies and gentlemen,


On behalf of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) as the South African BRICS Sherpa it gives me immense pleasure to deliver a message of support on this auspicious occasion.


This summit is an important cog in the development, technology and innovation wheel of all our BRICS countries. It is also one of many important events in the run up to our BRICS Heads of State Summit which will be held in August this year.


DIRCO and the SA Government are therefore extremely proud that our youth have over the past decade taken the initiative to grasp the opportunities that are being created and the opportunities that still need to be created in this pillar of BRICS cooperation. This organisation (SABYA) and this BRICS Youth Summit is an example of such opportunities.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Our global challenges (socio-political, economic and environmental) today are complex, multifaceted and continuously evolving. In this regard our youth are key to addressing these challenges as the global drivers of technological disruption, change and innovation. The theme of this summit is timely and this summit must therefore be an example of our youth in all BRICS countries creating a platform for collaboration, integration, synergy and disruption in the field of science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. By ensuring collaboration, BRICS youth will benefit from the following, amongst others:


1. Funding and investment opportunities.
2. Access to new and promising markets.
3. Knowledge and expertise sharing.
4. Collaborative research and development.
5. Joint infrastructure development.


BRICS countries have much to gain by cooperating in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, science, and technology. By leveraging our unique strengths and resources, we can develop new solutions and approaches that benefit all of us and that are tailor-made for the realities of the global South.


The importance of cooperation between the BRICS countries in the fields of youth innovation and entrepreneurship cannot be overemphasised. As the world’s leading emerging economies, our five nations share a wealth of resources, expertise, and opportunities. By working together, our youth will be able to harness their collective energy and strengths in order to drive innovation and entrepreneurship to new heights befitting of the age we live in.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The youth of our nations are the future of our economies and societies. BRICS leadership firmly believe that you are the driving force behind innovation and entrepreneurship and that you have the potential to create positive change in our societies. By fostering a culture of scientific and technological development, innovation and entrepreneurship, you can address some of the most pressing social, political, environmental and economic challenges facing our world today including but not limited to creating new jobs, boosting economic growth and addressing climate change challenges in a sustainable fashion.


Our BRICS countries remains home to some of the world’s most talented and creative young people.  Our diverse cultural heritage, combined with access to cutting-edge technologies, creates a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship. By leveraging these strengths, we can create new opportunities for young people to develop skills and contribute to the collective growth and development of all BRICS countries and beyond – this is the true meaning of a demographic dividend.


Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to the success of any economy. It drives growth and competitiveness and creates new markets and opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Through clever cooperation, our youth can leverage their collective strengths to build a more vibrant and dynamic business environment that benefits all.


BRICS youth must create more spaces and platforms such as this summit to share knowledge and expertise and learn from each other to create new opportunities for collaboration. BRICS youth must also pool their collective resources to invest in innovative projects and initiatives that benefit all our BRICS societies. In this regard there are several BRICS projects, funding instruments, platforms and networks that are already in existence which, such as:


1. The BRICS Innovation Fund.
2. The BRICS Science, Technology, and Innovation Framework Programme.
3. The BRICS Technology Transfer Centre.
4. The BRICS Start-up Summit.


Overall, these funding agencies, platforms, instruments and organisations are essential in promoting a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, science, and technology in the BRICS countries. By providing funding, technical support, and platforms for collaboration, these organisations help to create an environment that is conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship and essential for economic growth and development.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Innovation is at the heart of progress, and the youth of BRICS countries have a crucial role to play in driving it forward in order to address transversal challenges of our times such as climate change, environmental degradation, global peace and security, the unequal global political governance, economic and financial order, poverty, inequality in all its forms, unemployment and social injustice.


A good example of this was our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlighted the importance of innovation, international cooperation, collaboration and functional coherence amongst BRICS partners. We were able to move away from a state of fragmentation to a state of integration, synchrony, convergence and synergy.


During this period, we experienced the power of technology particularly the progress made in ICT infrastructural development and we have experienced the importance of innovation through the entire value chain from vaccine development to vaccine delivery.


As young people, you must maintain the momentum built during this period and continue to harness and channel your energies towards finding solutions that can help our societies recover and thrive in our post-pandemic era. By working together, the youth of our countries can build a more equitable, peaceful, secure and sustainable global south and world that benefits all our people, regardless of race, gender, religion, culture and socio-economic background.


In conclusion, as you deliberate and explore opportunities at this summit, let me remind you of the words of the great Pan African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral who said: “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children. . .”.


With these wise words I implore upon you to approach the summit with the twin principles of both creative disruption and pragmatism when dealing with our common challenges.


I thank you.




OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road