International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor highlighted the paramount importance of science and technology, as well as innovation, in the progress of nations during her address at the General Debate of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the G77 + China.
According to SANews, Minister Pandor stressed that “there is no doubt science technology and innovation are strategic levers for development.” She underlined the urgency of seizing this historic moment to empower countries in the Global South to become independent agents in their development agenda, thereby combating poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
Representing President Cyril Ramaphosa at the two-day Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 (G77) + China in Havana, Cuba, Minister Pandor noted that adequate support for science research, innovation, and digital technologies has the potential to advance these critical objectives. She cited South Africa’s successful application of science diplomacy in genomic sequencing research to combat COVID-19.
Minister Pandor also called for increased investment in research universities, more science and technology researchers graduating at the PhD level, establishing centres of excellence, and strengthening science councils.
She also advocated for equal access to science and innovation for women and girls, highlighting South Africa’s commitment to this cause.
Minister Pandor shared South Africa’s achievements in research and innovation since achieving freedom and democracy in 1994. The nation has significantly increased investment in these fields, establishing ninety Centers of Excellence, supporting thousands of young people in pursuing PhDs across various domains, and funding over 200 Research Chairs. This investment has also encouraged the participation of young women scientists.
Minister Pandor emphasised the need for science partnerships between researchers and university systems in her address, drawing inspiration from the successes of countries like Cuba, China, and India. She called for a more extensive focus on expanding Africa’s science and innovation ecosystem to address its most challenging issues.
Minister Pandor highlighted the potential of science and innovation to foster a green economy in the Global South, enhance productive capacity, and add high value to mineral wealth. She encouraged a simultaneous commitment to the effective reform of United Nations mechanisms, particularly the Security Council, and the fundamental reform of international development finance institutions.
Picture: X / DIRCO_ZA
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