South Africa plans new science policy

Government hopes its first new science policy in nearly 20 years will help the country tackle societal problems and embrace technological change.

September 14, 2018
South Africa flag

South Africa has published its long-awaited White Paper on science, technology and innovation, the country’s first new science policy for two decades.

The paper, which opened for public consultation on 10 September, has a strong focus on using technology and innovation to tackle societal inequalities and to boost the South African economy. The government said it hopes that it will help South Africa tap in to the fourth industrial revolution.

Science and technology minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that South Africa “needs to build on progress in areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and ICT research and innovation” as traditional jobs are already being lost due to automation, Independent Online reported.

The last piece of legislation on science and innovation in South Africa was implemented in 1996. The new White Paper, already approved by cabinet, reaffirms a commitment to increase the country’s research and development spending from 0.8 per cent to 1.5 per cent of GDP in the next decade.

The paper also calls for greater representation of black and female researchers in science.

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