Thousands of delegates from more than 50 countries have gathered at the CSIR Conference Centre in Pretoria to talk science, technology and innovation.
The event is the third Science Forum in South Africa, which was initiated by
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor to showcase the country’s
contribution to science worldwide. Delegates include various stakeholders including scientists, government representatives, industry leaders, students and civil society
Speaking at the Science forum on Thursday, Pandor said for the next two
days, people can look forward to a comprehensive programme of 70
parallel sessions where a broad range of issues with regards to the role of
science in society will be covered.
She also said that this year’s forum had three primary objectives.
“The first objective is to put science at the service of African society. We
believe it is through science that many of the challenges faced by our
communities can be addressed,” said Pandor.
Pandor said the second objective was to “promote international collaboration” while the third was to “showcase African science and technology into the
Deputy President Cyril Ramphosa was also there on Thursday and delivered
the keynote address.
Ramaphosa said this was an important event as it served as a platform through which cooperation and partnership could collectively advance science. The deputy president said the forum promoted innovation, science and collaboration which helped Africa grow.
“It is a forum working to advance pan-African co-operation in science and
technology but also to advance regional integration to promote peace in our
continent but also to enhance social cohesion and inclusive development.”
Ramaphosa said he is confident that this year’s event will move the African
youth to exploit the many opportunities that exist in scientific careers.
He stressed the importance of developing young people who believe in a future for science in this country and the continent at large.
“It is young people who must see themselves as agents of development
working to redesign the urban environment that many people live in,
expanding transport networks and building new and more sustainable
Ramaphosa also called on stakeholders to partner with young entrepreneurs to help support development and sustainability of innovative businesses.
“These stories of success and these stories of dreams that they have demonstrates that indeed our young people can reach the pinnacle of their potential if we just do one simple thing, to nurture them, to give them the opportunity and to open up pathways for them to get in.”
Ramaphosa said it would be very wrong for people to deny young people opportunities.