Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa) held in Durban, South Africa from 3-5 May 2017, South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, has said that increased investment in Science and Technology is necessary to transform Afrika.
She further added that WEF Africa has the potential to produce outcomes which can turn around the lives of ordinary Afrikans.
“If we are able, through deliberations here, to secure increased investment for South Africa, it benefits all our people. If we are able to secure increase investment for Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, for Swaziland, or for all the countries gathered here, it benefits all people on our continent,” Pandor said when responding to a journalist.
WEF Africa has been criticized in some quarters as a mere talk shop with no real benefits for Afrikans, but Pandor disagrees.
“The many people we think are not here are represented by civil society organisations. There is a range of NGOs that are attending this WEF because our government of South Africa has always ensured that we invite civil society to be part of this meeting,” added Pandor.
Apart from the many talks and plenary sessions, WEF Africa also recognized six Afrikan women technology and innovation entrepreneurs, a further emphasis on the importance of science and technology in driving the continent forward.
Pandor further explained that without science there cannot be any change and that Afrika will not able to address the range of difficulties that it faces.
"We need to up our invest [into science and technology]. We must make sure that at minimum, even that minimum is below what the rest of the world is doing, we invest in science and technology. Investing in science and technology is imperative."
“Many voices here have to ask our leaders questions about why they are not taking seriously their commitment to invest at least one percent of GDP in science and technology. I think any leaders who, in their speeches talk about development and don’t mention science and technology, we should ask them to leave WEF – they don’t deserve to be here.” concluded Pandor.
Cover Image Credit: Hon. Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor (Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa) at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 7, 2010. | World Economic Forum