Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies told ANA on Wednesday that developing countries must be given the policy space to develop their own agenda.
In an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Davies warned against having the agenda for development set by countries that had already industrialised, saying that they had different interests to serve.
In terms of learning from the experience of other nations, Davies mentioned China as one that South Africa could learn from. On the other hand, regarding the steady stream of advice coming from the developed nations of the old world, he said, it made a lot more sense to do what they do (or, in this case, do what they did) rather than do what they say.
For example, Davies said every country that had achieved large scale industrialisation, including the United States, had done so by nurturing their emerging industries, something that might described as protectionism.
The bottom line, according to Davies, is that there was no turning back from industrialisation as a central mechanism to build and strengthen South Africa’s economy.