Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have urged role players in the science and technology community to put Africa on the international map.

They were speaking at the opening of the third Science Forum conference at the CSIR in Pretoria.

The conference was attended by scientists, scholars and students, civil society organisations and local and international government representatives.

Pandor is also the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology.

She says the forum, which was established two years ago, is not just a talk-show, but a platform for both local and international scientists to showcase their talent and share ideas through debates.

“We invest in knowledge-based activities that are driven by the quality of the scientists we train. The quality of our research and development infrastructure and the energy we put in place to turn scientific research into technology. At least the Science Forum South Africa is already regarded as one of the Africa’s premier platform for public debate on science. Science is an integral part of Africa’s agenda and we are committed as the Department of Science and Technology to play a part in contributing to developing our continent capacity for science and technology.”

African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Sarah Anyang Agbor has commended the South African government for leading the continent in the promotion of science and technology.

“Science Forum South Africa is involving into a powerful platform for advancing science technology and innovation in the continent. The heads of States and government of the African Union adopted our people centred a long term agenda 2063 – It is both a vision for Africa and it call for action to all statesmen of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa build on shared values and common destiny.”

Ramaphosa has urged both the continental and international communities to work together in addressing the socio-economic challenges which created inequalities between people and the nations of the world. Ramaphosa says science and technology can be used to curb climate change, the outbreak of pandemics, and threats to global food security.

“In a world challenged by dwindling resources and raising inequalities between individuals and amongst the nation the scientific enterprise cannot be indifferent to the needs of humanity. The many challenges we face from pandemic and food insecurity, to poverty and climate change require that there should be a  response from the global science community. Sustainable global development needs indefinites dialogue amongst all nations and committed engagement to work together.”

Ramaphosa says it’s time for the youth to take their rightful place in the development of the country.

“What we should do is to unchain the constraints and enable them to play a key role in this forth industrial revolution. Therefore it must not just be talk; It must be much more action on our part as we enable them to play and to work in this forth industrial revolution. This revolution must therefore be inclusive and by inclusively it must involve all our people. Yes, young and old. But even those who come from poor backgrounds.”

The two-day conference is expected to wrap its business on Friday.