South Africa launches science diplomacy initiative to promote collaboration across Africa and beyond

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister for Higher Education, Sciene and Innovation, Republic of South Africa

South Africa has launched a new Science Diplomacy Initiative that aims to promote collaboration across Africa and beyond towards leveraging and connecting technology innovation with humanity.

The Science Diplomacy Capital for Africa (SDCfA) initiative was launched in Pretoria as a platform to produce “world-class scientific input”, aimed at addressing key societal challenges to help the continent better harness science as an instrument at the service of society and to advance the achievement of the global public good, through the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDCfA, will, from this year to 2023, be in the development phase, during which it will aim to position the initiative as a strategic enabler and support global scientific initiatives.

From 2023 to 2025, the initiative will focus on value-add interventions aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – in the context of the Societal Grand Challenges.

Addressing delegates during the launch, The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande, said he also hopes that the initiative would promote and assist the formation of enhanced science diplomacy partnerships in order to provide a platform to leverage the expertise and resources of international partners to conceptualize and initiate new cooperation programmes to deliver real impact.

Global challenges such as Covid-19, global warming, major natural disasters, and food insecurity are among pertinent societal challenges likely to be addressed using science-based solutions. The initiative will facilitate networking between the diplomatic community in Africa and abroad to address common problems. It will see the implementation of activities in promotion, networking, and facilitation. Climate change and shared infrastructure are two of the areas in which collaboration is likely.

The initiative is a brainchild of the Department of Science and Innovation and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Photo courtesy / GCIS

Article by Jedidah Mwangi