The African Procurement Law Unit organized two high-level engagements on behalf of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) to explore the linkage between public procurement and innovation in Africa. At a one-day colloquium (pictured above) followed by a two-day conference, held between 13 and 15 November at the NRF campus in Pretoria, leading international scholars engaged with local policymakers, practitioners and scholars in both the areas of public procurement and innovation to explore ways in which public spending can be leveraged to accelerate innovation on the continent.
Opening the conference, Mr. Imraan Patel (left), deputy director general for research development and support in the Department of Science and Innovation, noted the need to use the opportunity that the state’s enormous spend on public procurement presents to build our innovation ecosystem.
The South African government spends close to R1 trillion annually through public procurement. Scholars from multiple disciplines explored issues such as public procurement as an innovation policy tool, the transformation potential of public procurement for/of innovation, the state of current supply chains, mapping firm innovation patterns in South Africa, the role of technology in procurement of innovation, pursuing functional and relational public procurement paradigms, innovation for gender-responsive procurement, defense procurement as a driver of innovation and public procurement in open innovation approaches. Best practices across the world were considered in building an appreciation of a fit-for-purpose approach to linking public procurement and innovation in Africa.
All presentations at the conference van be viewed on the NRF YouTube channel.