PUTRAJAYA, June 19 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on African and Caribbean nations to embrace innovation as a key priority to achieve a competitive edge globally and take their economies to new heights.
Urging them to shift away from the old way of doing things, he said that Malaysia, which incorporated innovation to ensure high productivity, was willing to join hands with them to drive their economies towards innovation and socio-economic transformation in achieving their national visions.
“There is no doubt that countries with knowledge and innovation-based economies score high in international business rankings,” he said in his keynote address at the Langkawi International Dialogue 2011 (LID2011) here today.
LID2011 is being attended by heads of government and state as well as ministers and officials from 15 countries from Africa and the Caribbean.
Citing South Korea and Taiwan, Najib said their remarkable economic resurgence, as well as the ability of Scandinavian countries to chalk up the highest per capita incomes in the world despite small populations and small domestic economies, were due to their heavy investments in innovation, specialisation and internationalisation of their large-scale research facilities.
In line with this, the move by Malaysia last month to set up the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) in New York helped it to gain an insight into a diverse network through which Malaysian companies and institutions could connect with their counterparts abroad.
Chaired by Najib, the GSIAC meeting brought together leaders from government, industry and academia who offered fresh perspectives on the best ways to drive the global economy towards innovation and socio-economic transformation.
Najib told the Putrajaya gathering that as prime minister, he was “determined to see Malaysia become an enterprising and dynamic innovation nation”.
“I have no doubt that a highly-evolved innovative ecosystem would increase the socio-economic status of our society and improve the quality of life of our citizens. But to achieve that goal we must tap into the experience of successful nations and learn from their successes,” he said.
“We can foster a similar collaboration with our friends from Africa and the Caribbean,” he said in an offer which clearly resonated with the theme of this year’s LID — “Enhancing Smart Partnership For Socio-Economic Transformation.”
LID2011 is being held for the first time in Putrajaya due to requests by African leaders at the last Southern African International Dialogue in Uganda, indicating that they wanted to see developments in Putrajaya as well as Cyberjaya.
This year’s dialogue is being attended by African leaders such as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso, Ugandan Vice-President Edward Sekandi and Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Najib also called on countries to incorporate appropriate technologies in the context of their national development for optimal benefits in view of the fact that massive infusion of advanced technology from industrialised countries had resulted in increasing socio-economic woes in developing countries.
The problems include poverty and rising unemployment due to the incorporation of capital-intensive technology, and migration to urban areas causing over-population as people seek better living conditions.
“We cannot deny that technology has influenced economic growth, but there is a need for us to assess individually whether the technology we are employing is optimal for us,” he said.
The Malaysian leader added that appropriate technology as a development approach was intended to solve such socio-economic problems, especially in the rural and informal sectors.
It is also intended to raise productivity and income outside the advanced technology sector to enable development throughout the population.
“In addition, we need to develop a concerted plan to develop rural areas. I believe that this is a potential area for discussion and cooperation in the future,” said Najib.
Source : Bernama