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Africa Cannot Afford To Lag In Investing In Science

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ZAgov}

South Africa 








08 December 2015

To keep Up In An Ever Evolving World, Africa Cannot Afford To Lag In Investing In Science

South Africa’s Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday said African governments and institutions must invest in science and innovation to get the competitive edge.

Science Forum South Africa is currently holding a summit at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, where Minister Pandor said efforts must be doubled to enhance the status of science and increase investment in research development and innovation.

“Unfortunately, science is still at the margins of government attention seen as less significant than water scarcity, food security and disease burdens, yet all of these can be addressed through science.

“We must have … systems that allow a smooth flow and take up of creative ideas from knowledge generating institutions through to enterprises and industry. We need joint industry research, public private partnerships, technology diffusion and movement of human capital,” said the Minister.

She said communities must be informed about science and be encouraged to value the role science, technology and innovation can play in improving their lives. Young people must also be encouraged to prize knowledge and its potential for the development trajectory of Africa.

African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said investing in young people was a very important step in advancing scientific development.

“Investing in young people is very critical. If young people are skilled, this can contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty.”

She said Africa must work hard to achieve the Agenda 2063 goals to ensure that Africa is developed.

She said women must be involved in science. “Companies that have women at the top are more competitive,” she said.

Koji Omi, founder and chairperson of the Science and Technology in Society Forum, said Africa faces many challenges such as developing infrastructure, and science is the foundation to addressing these challenges.

Various institutions and organisations are showcasing science-related materials to the delegates attending the forum. The summit brings together scientists, industry leaders, students and civil society from Africa and around the world.

Held under the theme ‘Igniting conversations about science’, the Science Forum’s program comprises several parallel sessions with a special focus on how research and innovation can best be harnessed for the continent’s growth and development.

The forum will also feature the first South African Science Diplomacy Awards to celebrate partnerships that have made a significant contribution towards making the world a better place.



[photo credits: “UNISA Main Campus” by A. Bailey – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –]



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