Science and Technology Essay and Speech Competition
The Africa-Japan Science and Technology Essay and Speech Competition was open to African and Japanese students, at both ...
information with various institutions, especially with those countries who are close to us geographically and with whom we share many issues—in other words, Asian countries. We are enhancing and deepening our relationships with these countries.
Lingela: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us this evening. My name is Vuyani Lingela, the counselor for science and technology at the South African Embassy. First, I would like to say, it is indeed a great pleasure to welcome you this evening here at the University of Tokyo, on this occasion to launch the AfricaJapan Essay and Speech Competition (A-JESC). My role tonight is very quick and short, mainly to introduce our guest speakers who are here tonight. I will introduce the first speaker, Dr. Yukata Kirino. Dr. Kirino is the executive vice president of the University of Tokyo. We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the University of Tokyo for making this hall available for this occasion. On that note, I will ask Dr. Kirino to come and address us. Thank you very much. Kirino Yukata: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am Kirino of the University of Tokyo. Today is the opening ceremony of the launch of the A-JESC. This kind of attempt to promote exchange between Africa and Japan is very much welcomed. At the University of Tokyo, we have been engaged in international exchange, especially since last year, when we launched a headquarters for international exchange. the University of Tokyo is tying up with various universities worldwide, and that totals 250. Many overseas students and researchers are participating and working at the University of Tokyo. We are also participating and involved in various alliances worldwide and we are exchanging
However, unfortunately, our ties are not yet that strong with African nations. The African nations are abundant in natural resources and there is plenty of opportunity and possibilities for the future. However, unfortunately, we must say that we do not know much about Africa yet. This essay and speech contest should give us a very precious opportunity for us to learn about Africa, which is still very far away from us. On the other hand, this would also provide an opportunity for people in Africa to learn about Japan, and especially for university students, college students, high school students—the young generation of both countries—to learn about each other. Being geographically far apart, this would contribute extremely to the deepening of the relationship between Africa and Japan. Today we have many people from Africa and Japan who will share their views with regard to the A-JESC. I hope that today’s ceremony will open the door to enhancing further relationships between Africa and Japan. With this, I would like to close my remarks. Thank you very much. Lingela: Thank you very much, Dr. Kirino, for the welcoming address. Our second speaker this evening is His Excellency Mr. Oscar Motswagae, Ambassador of Botswana to Japan, who will present introductory remarks. Ambassador Motswagae is also the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Committee of Ambassadors in Japan. He has experience in the diplomatic service, both inside Botswana and outside Botswana, particularly with the United Nations (UN). The Ambassador will introduce the purpose of our gathering this evening. Thank you very much, Ambassador Motswagae.
intense debate at many international fora. We in the SADC region believe very strongly that such a conducive environment should start at school level, because new technologies are knowledge- and skills-intensive. We believe that it is through exposure and access to new technologies that our youth can unleash their potential to deal with the challenges facing humanity today. It is for this reason that we have decided to organize this essay and speech competition.
Oscar Motswagae: Thank you very much and good evening, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be here this evening, for this important SADC initiative: the launching of the A-JESC, making science and technology a foundation for partnership between Africa and Japan. On behalf of my SADC colleagues, I want to thank the University of Tokyo for hosting us here this evening. Thank you very much, Dr. Kirino. The support, friendship, and solidarity of this institution cannot be acknowledged enough. Once again, thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, there are divergent views on the best path toward sustainable development, but I think everybody agrees that science and technology is the foundation on which the successful economies around the world are built. New technologies have brought about profound changes that we see in our everyday lives. Imagine the ease with which we can talk to people all over the world, the ease and speed at which data can be transmitted around the world, the ease of travel, the ease with which we can see and hear news and cultural events around the world, and, most extraordinarily, the Internet, which gives us the ability to access the stores of knowledge and information in virtually all the world’s computers. With science and technology having such a profound impact on our lives, how can we create an environment that is conducive to the transfer of technology from the rich countries of the world to the poorer ones? This question has been and continues to be the subject of
The gap between the countries of Africa and Japan, in dealing with computers and new technologies, is obvious to everyone. Nowhere in the world is science and technology as manifest in the lives of citizens as it is in this country. Our hope is that this competition will open new opportunities for Africa and Japan to collaborate in the area of education and science for development. Thus, the theme: making science and technology a foundation for partnership between Africa and Japan. We are convinced that this initiative will help inspire more African and Japanese students, in the fields of science, research, engineering, and so forth, to build partnerships, linkages, and networks to ease the transfer of the muchneeded technology between Africa and Japan. Our embassies can help connect Japanese students with the right people and organizations in our countries. The competition is open to African and Japanese students, at both high school and tertiary educational institutions, who have an interest in international relations and science and technology. I should therefore like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my SADC colleagues, to invite students from Japanese high schools and tertiary institutions to participate in this competition and submit their essays to the Embassy of South Africa by 22 April 2006. Those interested should contact Mr. Vuyani Lingela of the South African Embassy for the competition guidelines. There will be a total of nine winners, three from Japan and six from Africa. The three Japanese winners will each receive a fully paid eight-day travel package to Africa. It is my sincere hope that as many students as
possible will take part in this competition and contribute meaningful ideas for making science and technology a foundation for partnership between Africa and Japan. I thank you very much for your attention. Lingela: Thank you, Ambassador for the very stimulating words. This time I will call the General Manager for Science Communication of the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa. His name is Mr. Nhlanhla Nyide. Mr. Nyide has worked in the Department of Science and Technology supporting with communication in the department and he is here in Japan this time also to promote communication and science and technology. Please ladies and gentlemen let’s welcome Mr. Nhlanhla Nyide.
hydrogen fuel cells, and although it is not the only catalyst in use, it is the catalyst of choice for the most promising of the emerging developments, the proton exchange membrane fuel cell. Japan, as is often the case, is one of the nation’s leading this research.
Nhlanhla Nyide: Your Excellencies, Your Ambassadors, Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished and honourable guests. Japan and South Africa are two countries that experienced fresh beginnings in the 20th Century. Both these fresh starts came as an end result of conflict, so our two nations have much in common, not least a common desire to avoid conflict. There is a great deal we can teach one another, as we both strive to make this world a better place to live in, principally through the sensitive application of sciences and new and emerging technologies. Some people have difficulty in equating South Africa, or any part of Africa for that matter, with science and technology. The fact is that South Africa is deeply enmeshed in the promotion of a very wide range of scientific and technological endeavors and is an enthusiastic promoter of scientific causes throughout the African continent. For those of you who are not familiar with South Africa’ s scientific progress, I will mention a few key projects. In general terms, South Africa tries to play to its strengths. As a custodian of over 75% of the world’s platinum deposits, South Africa has recently decided to strongly identify itself with hydrogen fuel cell research, in the hope that development will lead to a real alternative to the internal combustion engine, ending society’s dependence on oil and halting global warming. A worldwide system of hydrogen refueling stations and hydrogen pipelines is envisaged. Platinum is the key catalytic material used in
Again in the field of responsible energy generation, our country is well advanced in the development of the South African pebble bed modular reactor. This initiative has been in progress since 1993 and aims to produce and market small-scale, high-temperature reactors, both locally and internationally. The demonstration plant is scheduled to be completed by 2011. Although it is not the only high-temperature reactor currently being developed in the world, the South African project is internationally regarded as the leader in the power generation field. Very high efficiency and attractive economics are possible, without compromising the high levels of passive safety expected of advanced nuclear designs. These two initiatives together will go a long way to redeeming the pledges made in the Kyoto Protocol. In November 2005, our state president Thabo Mbeki opened the South African Large Telescope (SALT) at Sutherland, a remote site in the Great Karoo in the Cape Province. Sutherland is an ideal position from which to conduct astronomical research and now plays host to this remarkable new instrument, which represents a joint venture between seven countries, 11 organizations, and 12 universities. Both private and public funding was pooled to create the largest diameter telescope in the southern hemisphere. SALT is a truly multinational endeavor and sets an early example for scientific and educational cooperation between nations in the 21st century. Its 11-meter mirror array is the largest effective mirror of any telescope in the world, and it is more efficient studying stars in the ultraviolet than any other large telescope. Not the least of our strengths in this area is clear skies, unpolluted by smoke, smog, or the ambient light of cities. We are also among the last contestants to host the
new square kilometer array (SKA) telescope. This has involved us building a 1% SKA demonstrator called the Karoo Array Telescope, which has enabled South African industry and academia to participate in the technology development process. We are optimistic that our bid represents the most sensible proposition on the table. Of course our country continues to lead the world in the field of anthropology and paleoanthropology. The work at Sterkfontein, to the east of Johannesburg, under the leadership of the extraordinary Prof. Phillip Tobias, continues to rivet the attention of those who are concerned with the evolution of our South African forefathers, who many observers now believe were amongst the first hominids to inhabit this wonderful planet of ours. Sterkfontein has been the site of a major excavation since 1966, and in that 40-year period, over 600 hominid fossils have been recovered, making the site the world’s richest single deposit for ancient hominid remains. In the field of medical biotechnology, a team at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases at Onderstepoort has sequenced and annotated the complete genome of the bacterium that causes the deadly Heartwater Disease, which has destroyed cattle, sheep, and goat herds throughout subSaharan Africa for centuries. We hope that within five years, this breakthrough will result in an effective vaccine that will bring an end to this dreadful scourge. This is the first entire sequencing of any organism that has been done in Africa. These are some—though by no means all—of the projects that are illuminating my country’s scientific progress. Also worth mentioning is the ongoing African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, in the course of which the coelacanth—a fish that remained undetected and unchanged for some 70 million years—was discovered in the ocean off the coast of East London. It is the subject of intense study. I must not neglect to mention our promotion of indigenous
knowledge systems. We recognize that large parts of indigenous knowledge constitute a science, one that has always been and continues to be the primary factor in the survival and welfare of the majority of South Africans. Our present policy seeks to recognize this, to affirm it and develop it, and to promote and protect the custodians and practitioners of this knowledge. Most important of all is that we, who are privileged to lead this scientific fraternity of Africa, are duty-bound to use our discoveries and our refinements for the benefit of all those who share the vast continent of Africa with us, and to share it through the good offices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). As the most financially privileged member of the African community, it is our solemn responsibility to shine the bright light of hope on the often dark pathway of African progress. Consequently, we are impatient to increase our skills levels and multiply the numbers of our scientists, and so accelerate our journey. That is why we are so pleased and delighted by the A-JESC. Africa is a continent in search of inspiration, and there are few people as inspiring as the people of Japan. You have had more than your fair share of hardship and you too have experienced helping hands extended to you from across vast oceans. You have wonderfully and skillfully combined modernity with tradition, and in many ways you have set the standard for life in the present age. How wonderful then to be involved with you in a program that will result in some of our best young people intermingling with one another’s culture and scientific aims. It makes me want to be a student again. On the other hand, I have the good fortune of being able to address you without having to win a competition for the pleasure of doing so. We are all hoping that this will be the beginning of something that will flower and flourish. Again, in this respect, I must pay homage to the efforts put into these developments by Mr. Vuyani Lingela, who as many of you know is the counselor for science and technology at the South African Embassy in Japan. He
has worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome and we are all particularly pleased to be identified with such a noble enterprise. To the young people of Japan, South Africa, and Zambia, who may be considering entering this competition, I say: do not hesitate to do it. We need your minds, your foresight, and your fresh thinking to be brought to bear on each other’s scientific and technological problems. To those who have been involved in bringing this excellent project to fruition, I say: thank you, but do not limit your aims to just one season of this contest. Let it continue. Let it grow. As an old Japanese proverb has it: beginning is easy, continuing is hard. I thank you. Lingela: Thank you very much, Mr. Nyide. Ladies and gentlemen, I wish it to be known that we have a special guest also from South Africa who is here with us this evening, the minister of education in the province of Pumalanga, His Excellency Minister Masango. Let us welcome him also. Now, to have an opportunity to hear from one of the honorable members of the community of science in Japan—I am talking about Prof. Akito Arima. Talking about Prof. Arima, just to start with, he has numerous awards from all over the world, including an honorary degree from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. But that is not all. Prof. Arima was the president of this university. Prof. Arima was the minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan. Prof. Arima was the minister of state of science and technology. He is currently the chairman of the Japan Science Foundation. We are really indeed honored to have Prof. Arima to address us this evening. Thank you very much, sir.
Stellenbosch. In 1999, since it was immediately after I served as the minister of MEXT in Japan, I was unfortunately not able to participate in the ceremony. However, I was able to take part in the graduation ceremony in 2004, and I was given the honorary doctorate of science. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to South Africa.
Akito Arima: South African Embassy Ambassador, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Arima Akito. It is a great honor for me to be given this opportunity to speak in front of such a group. As introduced, this is the university where I first learned physics as a student and later on became assistant professor and then professor. The building has changed. It has been renewed. The building was terrible. There are some remains on the other side of this building. You might have an opportunity to look at it. It is a great honor to see you in this hall today. In order to establish a foundation for exchange between Japan and Africa in the field of science and technology, it is quite timely to plan this A-JESC. I myself have been engaged in nuclear physics for a long time, and researchers in South Africa excel in the world in this particular field. Many researchers are quite active in pursuing research in nuclear physics. Many are publishing research papers and take an active part in international meetings. Therefore, as I just described, researchers from South Africa are not only taking part in overseas meetings and research but also are inviting overseas researchers to their countries. I myself have been given the honor of receiving an honorary doctorate of science for the study of nuclear physics from the University of Stellenbosch in 1999. This was possible because I had an excellent friend involved in this research at the University of
When I visited South Africa, I was highly impressed by the high culture, by the strong mining industry, agriculture, and winery. I was also very impressed by the fact that people were living quite vividly and were full of life. It made me feel that we should proceed with something that I had been thinking about for a long time, and I would like to share that thought with you today. It is true that the distance between Africa and Japan is very, very far. I felt that myself. However, between researchers, there is virtually no difference in thinking. As I said, in the field of science and technology, we have virtually the same mindset and we are applying it in new technologies. Japan and South Africa and its neighboring countries should cooperate with each other more actively in the field of science and technology. When I was the president of University of Tokyo, I insisted that we should invite more young people from Africa and that more Japanese young people should go and learn in Africa. I made some efforts, but as Dr. Kirino mentioned, they were not very fruitful. Still, many students from Africa came to our university, University of Tokyo, and I felt it quite compelling to see such students studying hard. In recent years, global problems include dealing with energy problems, food shortages, and, especially, the massive exhaust of CO2 causing global warming. This has become a serious c h a l l e n g e . A m o n g ourselves, researchers and scientists,CO 2 exhaust from human beings—is it really the true cause of global warming? Some people are still quite skeptical about it. However, the supercomputer called the Earth Simulator does calculations and shows that CO 2
exhaust from human beings is actually the cause of global warming. Even if this calculation is wrong, trying to come up with a solution when we find the true cause will be too late. When we are facing a critical situation and decide to stop emitting CO 2, that will be too late. When it is still suspicious—and at least we already have concrete proof and evidence that CO 2 is the cause—we must make efforts to deal with this. In order to address such issues, we cannot solve such problems with one country alone. All countries around the world must cooperate in order to implement solutions. In order to seek the sustainable development of this Earth, I believe it is indispensable for Japan and the African nations to cooperate. This is my belief. There are certain aspects where Japan excels, such as in the area of industrialization. At the same time, we have had very sad experiences, such as the nerve damage caused by Minamata Disease, which was caused by mercury in industrial waste. Soil pollution, air pollution—these are also other examples of sad experiences of Japan, and these are things that other countries should not experience again. This kind of success and failure that Japan has experienced in the course of industrialization is something that I would like people from the African nations to understand and learn from. On the other hand, there are other things that the African nations excel at. Agriculture is an example and the way in which industrialization is pursued is another example. I believe Japan must learn more proactively, in that regard. By understanding science and technology, Japan and the African nations should be able to rely on each other, overcoming differences in race and forgetting cultural and religious differences. I think this is the first step in establishing peace worldwide and I think this would definitely contribute to establishing such a world. This is what I have been thinking for a long time.
The real aspect, the truth, inside science and technology is quite common for all human beings. What is useful for the well-being of humans is quite universal. Let us establish a true peace in this world by using the advantages of science and technology. To that end, young people are necessary; and this A-JESC, inviting high school students as well as college and university students, gives a wonderful opportunity for the young generation. I would like to raise my voice and show strong approval for this contest. With this, I would like to close my remarks. Thank you all very much. Lingela: Thank you very much to Prof. Arima for the very encouraging words. We are again privileged to have one of the speakers who can address us this evening. The speaker is Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa. Dr. Kurokawa is the president of the Science Council of Japan. I must confess that when I first heard Dr. Kurokawa speak, the energy coming from him was indeed translated to me and many other people. I am truly convinced that you will also feel the energy of Dr. Kurokawa. Just a brief word: Dr. Kurokawa is a medical doctor. He practiced, researched, and worked in the United States for many, many years, including at the University of California. He is currently the professor at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Tokai University. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like you to experience the energy from Dr. Kurokawa. Thank you.
accumulation of indigenous knowledge, the human population on Planet Earth reached 1.6 billion. A hundred years later, the world population has now surpassed 6 billion; and it is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.
Kiyoshi Kurokawa: Your Excellency, distinguished scholars, and guests, it is my privilege to be invited here on this occasion of the announcement of the launch of a new program, which sends a message to the future youth between Japan and the southern part of sub-Saharan Africa. This hall is named after Prof. Koshiba, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery of neutrinos. Neutrinos go through Earth. If you see from the neutrino’s perspective, we do not see any national borders, we do not see any ethnic differences. And why can we not live in peace? That would be the message. The human race accumulated various indigenous knowledge, transmitted their knowledge to their neighbor and the next generation, and came a long way to reach civilization, some few thousand years ago. Then, many scientific discoveries were made through the pursuit of finding the truth and principle of nature. But in the last hundred years, we have seen major, major change in the history of Homo sapiens. A hundred years ago, the life expectancy in leading countries, like the Europe and United States and also parts of Japan, was 40 to 45. But in the last hundred years, we gained another 40 years, which is extraordinary; but nobody could imagine such an accomplishment. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published five papers, which changed our way of thinking of the universe and human existence. A hundred years ago, through this
Is our race on Planet Earth sustainable? This is an obvious question. We knew that through the declaration of limits of growth in early 1970s, which led to the UN report by Brundtland on sustainable development Our Common Future—that was 1987. Although we realized these issues, we could not make any meaningful decisions globally because that may have been the nature of the human race. But the impact of the increasing human population, industrialization, and the pursuit of economic growth suddenly has its own limits. In response to this Brundtland report, the National Academy of Science in the United States delivered its report with the title Our Common Journey in 1996. Then, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom delivered a European perspective, in response to that; and the Science Council of Japan, representing the science community of Japan, published the Japa n e s e perspective. These are the views of the science community at large. We are building a network to create a better future. Earlier last year, we then published another one: Japan Vision 2050. What are the responsibilities of Japan, a s a n e c o n o m i c a l l y a f f l u e n t c o m m u n i t y, w i t h t h e foreseeable challenges we face? First, the increasing human population, which requires energy, food and water, living space, daily activity— are we developing a sustainable society? That is the question. Second, due to this human population, is the environment, climate change, diminishing biodiversity—and how are we going to live? What is the food? Water? Energy? Third is the widening north-south disparity. If we know that, as responsible citizens, we have to at least think and take one step forward. This requires political will. In fact, the science community has been working over the last
few years as the aggregate to deliver and engage the decision-making processes, addressing global issues. Ten years after the first World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, there was the world summit in Johannesburg in 2002, and in fact Prime Minister Koizumi pledged that the Japanese government would commit substantial funds for education for people in the developing world. In fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development last year, with a special emphasis on education for girls. The World Trade Organization (WHO) has launched a mission for the Social Determinants of Health, recognizing that this is not a medical issue; this is a social issue. In fact, consistent with the Millennium Development Goals, led by Jeffrey Sachs, eradicating poverty, the goal will be set at 2015. These are the concerted efforts of responsible global citizens. The Science Council of Japan was instrumental to the launch of the Science Council of Asia, which focuses on sustainable development for a prosperous, harmonious, and greener Asia and on delivering policy recommendations under this theme. Also, the Science Council of Asia was one of the signatories for the Ubuntu Declaration, during the Johannesburg Summit, which emphasized that we scientists are not merely scientists but also educators. Therefore, in the UN document, there is a major stakeholder in the scientific community and educators. In addition, we launched a joint study panel with the Royal Society last year, addressing nanotechnology and its potential and potential risks, particularly for the environment and health, and also with the National Academy of Science in the United States on science and technology on national securities, and we focused on censors and censor systems. But I think the legacy of our generation—many of you who lived many years in the last century and
who may not live that long in this new century. But what will be our legacy, knowing what is happening right now and what is going to happen in the coming few decades? For example, the first patient with AIDS was seen in 1981 in Los Angeles. I was working in one of the UCLA hospitals, so I saw some of the first few patients and I know that. But also everybody knows, since this is a knowledgebased society, that already 20 million people have died of AIDS and now you know 40 million people are suffering from AIDS and HIV, 70% live in subSaharan Africa, and 75% of those in sub-Saharan Africa between ages 15 and 24 who are positive for HIV/AIDS are women. That is a tragedy. You know that. What would be your responsibility? To interact with your policymakers and make something happen. If we know the impact of climate change and African issues, engage with policymakers and world leaders, because this is a political decision. The science community has a neutral position, and as an aggregate of the science community, we sometimes have to make political commitments. In fact, that happened last year. Exactly a year ago, last January, Tony Blair made a historical speech in the Davos meeting about our generation’s legacy to the future. What will it be? Because as Dr. Arima stated already, we know what may be happening on climate change and greenhouse gases. But are we going to make something happen? Take action? Otherwise, 50 years later, our grandchildren and their children could say that our generation knew what was going to happen, but did not take any action. Is that how our generation will be remembered forever? Do you want to be representing this generation, to be remembered as an irresponsible generation, leaving climate change and the environment in such a misery for the future generations? Can we do that? Second is also Tony Blair’s, is also Africa’s issues. Some 50 years ago, the gross domestic product
and economic power in the Asia Pacific and Africa were almost comparable. But 50 years later, what is the difference? Why is it? Again, unless we take some action now, 50 years later our generation will be remembered as the generation leaving Africa as it was—which is crazy. Therefore, at last year’s G8 summit in Gleneagle, Tony Blair made these two issues—climate change and Africa—his cause. In fact, because of this, we G8 academies worked together and delivered a joint statement on climate change (in your handout) and another one on Africa. We helped develop the African Academies Network, which has become a core signatory on this African issue. Through this document from the science community, the G8 political leaders worked together and got the communiqué in early July. Obviously climate change has a signatory of head of also academy of Brazil and China and India, because they are also very significant partners for these issues. With these statements and the G8 communiqué, now we worked through the Millennium Development Goals at the Millennium Summit of last September at the UN in New York C i t y. A l s o , t h e y r e c o g n i z e d , i n t h i s d o c u m e n t of science, technology, and innovation, the G8 academy’s leadership, which is a very important step. Although it may look small, we are serious about our commitment. This year, I think it will be the first time Russia hosts the G8 summit, so we are working with the Russian academy on what kind of statement and engagement we can develop in the coming few months. All right, so the future lies with our children and grandchildren and their friends. Therefore, the InterAcademy Council (IAC), which became a major signatory of this UN document—in this small, back page, there are two reports by the IAC. I think their website is listed. The first paper was delivered to Kofi Annan in New York, at the UN headquarters,
in February 2004, under the title of “Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology.” There are specific policy recommendations at different levels of economic power for each country, and we request that each leader makes certain decisions after reading this. Also, we had four independent workshops in different parts of Africa. The second report from the IAC is “Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture: Science and Technology Strategies for Improving Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in Africa.” This was commissioned by Kofi Annan. So, we have been working together, engaging and delivering decision-makers’ policy choices, based on the best science available at the moment. With this background, I am particularly moved by this initiative of the speech contest, which is another form and framework for future generatio n s to engage and get to know each other and exchange some thoughts and ideas. Although it may look very small, it is a very important step forward. Japan has to make more commitments to our neighbors and also many other parts of the world, because Japan has been the number two economic power and because we really have to invest in our future generations. Forming partnerships, wherever they may be, will enhance the credibility of Japan as a nation and help Japan become a part of the helping hands for future global citizens. To conclude my brief presentation, this is another welcoming science for globalization and narrowing the north-south disparity, knowing 20% of the world population is still living in poverty, on $1 or less per day. I have been working with various leaders in African countries and, in fact, under the International Council for Science (ICSU). The ICSU vice president is now one of my good friends, Dr. Mokhele of the African science academy. He is an outstanding biological scientist and we are working with various academies and trying to build
academic institutions in various parts of Africa and Asia. In fact, the ICSU is now opening a regional office in South Africa and an Asia-Pacific office in Kuala Lumpur. We will try to reach out and address the relevant issues, work together to develop the capacity for future generations, so that our legacy will become at least more reasonable, and take action. When the future generation looks back 50 years from now, they will see we did something meaningful, so they could share the resources we have provided on this Planet Earth. More than 50 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi stated: Earth can meet our needs but not our greed. That is our responsibility and the message to convey to future generations. This is one very significant yet small step forward, to make a better world. Thank you very much.
Lingela: Thank you very much, Dr. Kurokawa. We are indeed privileged to welcome Dr. John Mugabe, who is an advisor of science and technology to NEPAD. Dr. Mugabe has done a lot of work in Africa and outside of Africa on agricultural and environmental issues concerning countries outside of Africa and within Africa. Dr. Mugabe will introduce to us this evening and highlight: Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action. I would now like to welcome Dr. Mugabe. Thank you.
I am not going to go into the details of this plan. The document is at least 50 pages and is available for those who want to look at it. But I just want to emphasize the process that Africa used to generate the plan and some of the objectives for the plan, and then end by giving you a sense of how Africa is starting to implement this particular plan.
John Mugabe: Thank you. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by thanking the Embassy of South Africa for inviting me to this event. Let me also thank the Embassy for giving me this privilege to introduce Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action to you. This plan is a product of a process that has taken African countries at least two years. That particular process was initiated by His Excellency Dr. Ben Ngubane, who was South Africa’s minister for science and technology. It is the first time that Africa, as a continent, has designed and in fact moved into implementing its own science and technology strategy and science and technology plan. In the past, Africa often relied on plans designed by other regions, by donors. Many of those plans have not enlarged Africa’s scientific and technological base.
In terms of background, we all know that Africa’s economic change and transformation are not going to be achieved if Africa has no science and technology. African leaders and African societies are increasingly recognizing that without science and technology, they are not going to see economic change and economies are not going to grow. This recognition is not just at the political level but at lower levels of governance as well. We are in fact seeing communities start to emphasize the role that science and technology play in economic development. Africa is actively engaged in inciting its renewal, and this process, at the political level, is through the African Union (AU) and NEPAD. It is also important to emphasize that Africa is searching for its economic renewal, at a time when there are new technological opportunities, and that Africa today has new opportunities compared to 40 years ago. Today, there are a range of new technologies that Africa can easily access and use—information and communication technologies, biotechnology, indigenous
knowledge and related technologies—so there are in fact technological opportunities for Africa to use to solve Africa’s problems. But there are also still barriers. Africa still has barriers to scientific and technological development. If Africa does not remove those barriers, it is not going to tie up the new opportunities, both technological and political. Those barriers include the absence of specific science, technology, and innovation policies. In many countries, again, there is a lack of demonstrative commitment to investing in science and technology. Many countries at the national level have not set specific science and technology priorities. The plan that I will be introducing to you aims, to a large extent, at addressing some of these barriers. African leaders have written in the NEPAD framework two specific science and technology goals, and those are that Africa must be a continent that harnesses and applies science and technology for its development. Africa cannot rely on the rest of the world to mobilize science and to apply that science to solving Africa’ s problem. Africa must take the initiative. Africa must go out and acquire science and related innovations. The second goal within the NEPAD framework is that Africa must also be a continent that contributes to global science and innovations. Africa cannot be politically assertive and Africa cannot integrate itself in the global
knowledge economy if Africa is only a consumer of science and innovations from other parts of the world. To achieve these two goals, in February 2003 in Johannesburg, under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. Ngubane, a process was initiated. Let me just give you a sense of the nature of this process. It was agreed upon that this process must be participatory and bottomup and that for Africa’s science and technology plan of action to make a difference, it must be a plan made not just by a few scientists but by consultants, by donors— it must be one that is designed by as many Africans as possible, mobilizing the diversity of Africa. Thus, the process was put in place. It has been a participatory process, bottom-up, involving consultations at national levels, regional workshops, and continental conferences. This process has also been knowledge-based. In the past, attempts at developing science and technology plans were ad hoc and relied on consultants; there were no efforts made to understand Africa’s capacities, Africa’ s own opportunities. The process that we have been involved in has been knowledge based. We sent out questionnaires to all African countries and many institutions. We commissioned at least 50 background studies on a range of issues—indigenous knowledge, intellectual protection, biodiversity needs, conservation needs. We had national submissions. The process has had and
continues to have a high level of political engagement. In November 2003, the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) was established, bringing together African ministers responsible for science and technology. This higher-level group has in fact overseen the development of the plan. There is a steering committee of permanent secretaries or director generals, who frequently now look at the implementation of the plan of action. The process has not been a closed process. It has been an open process, drawing on international partners. For example, in January 2005 we had the UK-CanadaAfrica partnership workshop, essentially to draw on the international community in preparing the plan of action. This process has also created new partnerships, like the France-NEPAD partnership on water sciences. It has been a learning process. What the leaders agreed was that they do not want just to set priorities that are custom installed. It has been a learning process. Priorities have been adjusted. The process has been guided by a number of principles. I just want to outline five of them. One important principle is African ownership. As I stated before, in the past the agenda has not been set by Africa; the plans have not been signed by Africa. This time around, the leaders stressed that this must be an African-owned process. It is a process that has been guided by the principle of
collective action, focusing on common challenges. This is not going to work if just a few African countries get involved for their own individual, national benefits; Africa must come together with a collective focus on shared challenges. Thus, it has been one that is owned, the process and the products. Another important principle is adding value to existing initiatives and efforts. It was clear from the beginning that this should not just be, again, another African initiative that is going to duplicate what has been done by original and continental institutions. Emphasis has been on the process and a plan that adds new value to what Africa has already been building, and on prior progress, to ensure that there is maximum learning, that we do not start from scratch. Africa has foundations for scientific and technological developments, so the emphasis has been on building on those foundations. There are a number of other principles that have guided the process. Let me quickly introduce to you what I would consider the pillars of the plan of action. The first is knowledge production and use. It is very clear that if Africa does not invest in the production of scientific knowledge, Africa is not going to be able to address its problems. Some of the problems are very peculiar to Africa and Africa in fact requires new knowledge to address those problems. A second pillar is skills. For Africa to see advances in scientific and technological areas, Africa needs to
create skills in a range of areas. Africa also needs to mobilize its past skills. Africa needs to efficiently use its skills; so, again, emphasis on skills as a pillar. The third pillar is policy conditions. From the beginning, African countries recognized that if they do not improve various science, technology, and innovation policies, they are not going to see differences, in terms of scientific and technological development. Many African countries lack science and technology policies. Of the few countries that have science and technology policies, most of those policies are outdated; so, emphasis on improving policy conditions. The fourth pillar is strong institutions. Without strong science institutions, Africa is not going to see any scientific and technological development; Africa is not going to be able to use emerging technological opportunities to solve its problems. The emphasis is on improving institutions. The fifth pillar is regional diversity. Africa has diversity of different kinds and Africa needs to use that diversity to harness and apply science and technology. The objectives of the plan that African countries have collectively designed are out there. The first and probably the most important is infrastructure for research and development. When designing the consultative plan, we found out that many of our countries had actually ignored the infrastructure for science and technology. If you go to universities, the laboratories are in a very bad state. You go to science councils and the equipment is
outdated. Through this plan of action, African countries want to focus on improving infrastructure for research and development. I have referred to skills creation. The other objective in the plan of action is that Africa this time must turn knowledge into products. Research has been conducted in African institutions by African scientists, but that research stays on the shelf in the form of publications. In this plan, African countries are putting emphasis on innovation, so innovation is one of the core objectives of the consolidated plan. I referred to improving policies— science, technology, and innovation policies. Another key objective is creating demand for science and technology. To a large extent, African institutions have been engaged in what one would call a science push, trying to essentially get science out there without pronounced demand. The emphasis this time is to ensure this pronounced demand for science and technology. In the plan, there are five clusters for flagship programs. These programs were adopted by ministers responsible for science and technology at their first meeting. I am not going to go into the details. Each cluster has very specific projects. Just to give you a sense, the first cluster—biodiversity, biotechnology, and indigenous knowledge—has two ongoing projects being implemented by African countries collectively. The first project is called Biosciences Initiative, which
is networking life science laboratories on the continent. There are four hubs that have been identified on the continent. Scientists are working in those hubs in the laboratories, addressing very specific African problems. For example, the southern African hub is focusing on use of indigenous knowledge to address HIV/AIDS—they are what are called opportunistic infections, which can easily be addressed using existing knowledge. In East and Central Africa there is work going on on bioinformatics; without a knowledge base on bioinformatics, Africa is not going to be able to use its biological resources. Under the biodiversity program, there is an initiative to generate taxonomists. We found out, during the process, that Africa has less than 100 active taxonomists. Without taxonomists, you will not be able to know which plant species you have, the uses of those species, which ecologists… The aim that African countries have set is to have in the next five years at least 100 more taxonomists at the PhD level. Those taxonomists will be given money to engage in taxonomy work. There are a number of other programs, but I am not going to go into the project details today. In addition to the flagship programs, the ministers also agreed on six policy-related programs. Those are now planned out there. Let me just make some statements on the first, which is the Africa Science, Technology, and Innovation Indicators Initiative. This is an initiative that is
going to enable African countries to map out science and innovation activities in Africa. Very few African countries actually know what science is being conducted by their own institutions, what innovations are being generated either by their public institutions or private companies. African countries do not know each other in terms of science and technology, and these initiatives are aimed at coming up with what we are calling African Innovation Outlook. There is a group that is already working on the indicators. They have had several meetings. These initiatives are in partnership with a number of other countries, particularly Canada. There are other activities related to policy. For example, the biodiversity strategy. African heads of state and government, African presidents, asked NEPAD and the AU commission to create a higher level of funding of biotechnology. There is a panel that is already advising countries on how to handle issues associated with genetic modification and genetically modified products. That panel is engaged at a very high level, at the ministerial and presidential level, addressing some of the controversial issues associated with trade in genetically modified crops or food generally. Technology parks—as I stated from the beginning, this time, Africa should not just produce science; it must turn that science into products. We are starting a process for establishing technology parks. Last week, we finalized
an agreement with the Government of Finland to assist Africa to have at least five technology parks in each of the regions of Africa, where African scientists are going to start turning science into specific products. There is a high-level mechanism to ensure the goals are realized and the programs are efficiently and effectively implemented.
will be very difficult to turn science into products. There is also emphasis on existing centers. This time, Africa is discouraging the international community from investing in brick-and-mortars. In the past, a lot of emphasis went into structures, but there were no concrete outputs from these structures. The emphasis this time is to use existing institutions and to strengthen those institutions.
I referred to AMCOST before. This is the first time that African countries have had such a body focusing on science and technology. The first two years of this body’ s existence, South Africa was the chair. Senegal has been chairing since September of last year. AMCOST interacts directly with the heads of state and government. The next AU Summit in January 2007 is going to be dedicated to science and technology. We are told that this is probably the first time that, at the AU level, heads of state and government are going to be addressing the issues of science and technology. There are a number of other bodies responsible for implementation. In the plan of action, the responsibilities of each are spelled out.
The plan has a very specific budget set and agreed upon. Over the next five years, Africa countries will take a modest budget, one that without international contributions, African countries can contribute to and cover: a maximum of US$200 million over the next five years to implement the projects that are in the plan of action. The sources are determined. First of all, African countries will put in their own resources—and there is a process to mobilize Africa’s own resources to implement the plan. In the long term, beyond 2010, the aim is to have an endowment of at least US$10 billion. To sustain the momentum, to continue to improve infrastructure, to generate innovations, Africa will need to build an endowment of at least US$10 billion. African countries have agreed on a mechanism for mobilizing and developing that US$10 billion.
We rely on existing institutions. For each of the program areas, we have what we are calling hubs and nodes— these are networks of institutions that have been carefully identified to focus on implementing specific projects. We ensure that each network has at least universities and industries involved. Without universities, capacity building is not going to take place. Without industries, it
This is around what is being called the African Science and Innovation Facility, which is going to be an institutional mechanism for mobilizing financial resources; ensuring that the resources are efficiently
utilized and also mobilizing technical resources, directing those to the networks of centers of excellence; and monitoring the implementation of the plan of action. In short, there is a plan that African countries have collectively designed. They are involved now in the implementation. They are mobilizing their own domestic resources and starting to work with international partners. Toward the end of this year, they are going to be launching Africa’s Science and Innovation Facility, which is going to be an institutional mechanism for implementation of the plan of action. Thank you.
Lingela: Thank you very much, Dr. Mugabe. We have another distinguished speaker this evening, Dr. Hiroyuki Abe. Dr. Abe is a member of the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) in the Cabinet Office of Japan. About Dr. Abe, just something very unique: he has a very strong academic background. This includes his role as the president of the Tohoku University here in Japan. Dr. Abe is instrumental in many activities that concern science and technology in Japan. I will now ask Dr. Abe to address us. Thank you very much.
a remarkable move away from science among people, particularly among the young. Thus, there is now much debate on how best to raise the understanding and interest of the public, so as to involve them in the implementation of science and technology policies. From this perspective, I believe it is highly significant that one of the stated objectives of the contest is “to promote public understanding of science and technology for sustainable development.”
Hiroyuki Abe: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much for inviting me here today, to the opening ceremony for the A-JESC. In recent years, there has been vigorous debate in G8 summits and various other forums over international cooperation ac tivities aimed at promoting development in the African region. In my capacity as a science and technology advisor to our government, I attend Carnegie Group meetings with science and technology advisors to other G8 and European Union governments. At these meetings too, the issue of science and technology cooperation with Africa is debated, as all member countries have a keen interest in the African region. Japan has also provided cooperation through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). In the midst of this background, therefore, the concept of the A-JESC is highly well timed. It is my hope that it will serve as a catalyst for further deepening science and technology exchange between African countries and Japan. I will talk about the expectations for the contest. The progress of science and technology forms the foundation for not only the development of industry but also for the creation of a prosperous society. Many countries are therefore pouring their energies into the promotion of science and technology, and Japan is no exception. Although the understanding and the support of citizens are vital for science and technology policies to be implemented effectively, there has been
Among scientists, there are some who conduct research purely to satisfy their own private concerns or interests. Now and in the future, however, I believe there will be an increasing demand for scientists to return the fruits of their work to the general public and society. Another of the stated objectives of this contest is “to promote science and technology cooperation between Africa and Japan, to improve the quality of life for all.” This is also a significant point from the perspective of returning the fruits of science and technology research to society. In considering cooperation between Japan and Africa in the future, exchange between young people, the leaders of the next generation, is imperative. Mutual exchange leads to mutual trust, and this bears fruit in the form of interest cooperation. From this perspective, another of this contest’s objectives is “to inspire a new generation of African and Japanese students to contribute in promoting partnership between Africa and Japan for mutual benefit,” which shows tremendous foresight. International cooperation in the field of science and technology is growing increasingly important for resolving global issues, such as population, environmental, food supply, and energy problems. In addition to implementing policy dialogue with other countries at the governmental level, our country proactively promotes cross-border exchange between scientists and joint research and development. To ensure cooperation in the resolution of problems that are not only shared by Japan and Africa but are common to all humankind, it is vitally important that the young people be encouraged to pursue international exchange from an early age. From this perspective
also, the A-JESC is highly significant. Participation in the project is expected to raise the interest in science and technology of young people in African countries and Japan and lend support to the promotion of AfricaJapan cooperation. Next, I will talk about the Third Science and Technology Basic Plan in Japan. In our country, science and technology policies are formulated based on the science and technology basic plan for five years. The groundwork is currently being laid for the Third Science and Technology Basic Plan, which will begin from the next fiscal year, from this April. Under the First and Second Science and Technology Basic Plans, Japan’ s standing in terms of both quality and quantity of research papers, for example, has risen, thanks to cumulative investment up until now. Consequently, Japan has had a large number of research achievements that lead the world in their respective fields. As a result of this progress, Japan has increased investment in government research and development, compared with other policy budgets, over these past 10 years, despite prolonged economic stagnation— a move for which I believe our government deserves to be commended. There are now a growing number of examples of the fruits of this investment being industrialized. Despite this, however, there are those who say that in general, it is difficult to see how the fruits of this investment in science and technology are being returned to the general public and society. Moreover, we cannot overlook the fact that international competition in science and technology has being growing more intense than anticipated during the Second Science and Technology Basic Plan. We have entered the age of the worldwide mega-competition for knowledge. Here, what we must consider is sustainable development and harmonized development on a global level. Amidst all this, the question of how to create knowledge holds the key to our society and humankind, as a
whole, opening the way to the future. I believe it is science and technology no less that is the bedrock for such knowledge. Based on the thinking I have just outlined, a proposal for the Third Science and Technology Basic Plan was presented to the government by the CSTP on 27 December of last year. I would now like to briefly introduce the content of this proposal. First, I would like to explain the fundamental concept of the basic policies. The basic stances are to “promote science and technology to be supported by the public and to benefit society” and “emphasize the fostering of human resources and the competitive research environment.” The keywords of the second basic stance are “shift of emphasis from ‘hard’ to ‘soft,’ such as human resources” and “greater significance of individuals at institutions.” The third basic plan sets more concrete and easily understood policy objectives that clearly outline the aims of science and technology. This is so as to enable the realization of three principles—creating human wisdom, maximizing human potential, and protecting the nation’s health and security—based on such factors as future outlooks, and internal and external exchanges regarding science and technology, the economy, and society. Under concrete goals such as these policy objectives, consideration is also being given to the enhancement of public understanding of science and technology as well as the promotion of international activities. Next I will talk about the enhancement of public understanding of science and technology. It is no exaggeration to say that science and technology activities and systems are not independent from society or the general public but can only be developed with the widespread support of society and the general public. Promotion of science and technology to be supported by the public and to benefit society is a stance that upholds the Third Science and Technology Basic Plan.
It is important that various agents, including the CSTP, related government ministries, local public authorities, research institutions, and individual researchers, work on various levels to gain the understanding of the general public regarding the promotion of science and technology. Next is the strategic promotion of international activities. The third basic plan emphasizes strategic international measures to resolve internationally common problems and respond to the expectations of other countries. Such measures include the systematic implementation of international efforts. In concrete terms, this means aiming for three things: ・ Utilizing Japan’s science and technology strengths to resolve internationally common problems and respond to international requests and expectations, thus further raising Japan’s credibility. ・ Contr ibuting to the for mation of international standards and r ules regarding scienc e and technology through our initiatives. ・ Both training Japanese researchers to a world- class level and accepting top-class researchers from overseas to increase research diversity and raise research levels, thus strengthening Japan’s science and technology capacity for the future of Japan and humankind. Conclusion: In this way, Japan’s science and technology policies in the future will focus on such issues as increasing the understanding of the general public, returning the fruits of research to society, and promoting international activities. From this perspective also, the A-JESC is expected to bear an abundance of fruit. Finally I would like to make an additional remark. For the future of humankind and the Earth, it should be noted on science and technology that decision-making by leaders, including intellectuals, is getting much more important. By taking into account the present and progress of science and technology, decision-making in the direction of science and technology, and policies for
the promotion of science and technology—in particular, science and technology—and therefore our future depends largely on the leaders of the next generation. Thank you very much for your attention. Lingela: Thank you very much to Prof. Abe for a very uplifting presentation. We have few minutes available to us, before we can ask His Excellency to close the occasion. But in the meantime, I would like any question that might relate to this occasion. Our honorable Ambassador, Dr. Nugabe, is available to respond to any question. If there is any question, the Ambassador is available. We would like to ask the Honorable Ambassador Godfrey Simasiku, who is a very active member of this A-JESC. Because of the Ambassador, Zambia is a key partner also participating in this speech competition. On that note, I would like to ask the Ambassador to say a few words, Thank you, Ambassador.
we have heard Africa speak this evening. You have heard from SADC. Those voices represent Africa, finally.
Godfrey Simasiku: Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my address actually would have been off the cuff, delivered without reading anything. But then, I ran into trouble with the translators, who said, “It is traditional, Ambassador. We need something written, for us to follow what you have to say.” But I do not want to spoil the party. We have listened to very distinguished, eminent, practical scholars. I want to mention that I will not do justice to skip their contribution in my prepared text. I am also remembering how during one closing ceremony, we had a big conference in Namibia, in Windhoek, for ministers of finance and health and local government and housing. The prime minister then—Geingob—of Namibia opened the conference and he told his president, who actually opened the conference. Then he was asked to address the conference. Later on in the program, he was asked to close the conference. Everybody was waiting; they sat there. He took the podium, and he said, “There is a time to make a speech and there is a time to close, and I therefore close this conference”—and that is what happened, in one minute. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my colleagues, to pay special tribute to the speakers that have been here, with very, very glowing tribute indeed in their professions, very knowledgeable people, deep knowledge, a lot of experience. Also,
Now, I would like to just take a quick look on some very important points that have been raised this evening. We have heard from Prof. Kirino— very, very distinguished, indeed, in his career. As he spoke, I could not help but remember his contemporaries, like Dr. Sakaro. A number of points that came from your address, including also for Dr. Kurokawa and also finally from Dr. Abe. We have basic problems in Africa. These problems can only be solved by appropriate science and technology. For example, yesterday, we attended at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) science and technology application, if you may wish. The Japanese government is facilitating some problems for least developed countries. I saw something there that is, in my country, a very big problem: the water hyacinth, the Kariba weed, which is choking our rivers and threatening our power generation. But there they were using that same material to produce beautiful handcrafts—basketry, of sorts— which all you need is cheap technology to harvest that notorious weed, to turn it into something useful in society. In our countries, there has been talk of illicit brews, for many, many years. These brews, they are not different from the gin that people drink around the world or, indeed, some of the drinks that we do experience here and there. Except, they have not been taken through properly constituted laboratories. With appropriate science and technology, these particular items can be contributing to our economies. I do remember a conference in Senegal. The theme was the competitiveness of African economies. Ministers of finance met at that conference. What is there that is a setback, a major constraint, today is the lack of science and technology. I think this
is an important point that we have reached today. Dr. Kurokawa was saying, it may look small but— I want to the words of Neil Armstrong, more than 40 decades ago. When he, as the first man to step on the moon, was coming out of his capsule, we did not know whether the moon would support his weight. But he had that task. As his boot touched the moon’s earth, he said, it is a small step by man, but a giant step for mankind. Indeed this can be a very small step, but we think this is the big step that will help to redeem our countries, our regions, our continent. I want to mention what you also did mention here, Dr. Kurokawa. In the next 50 years, what will our children and our grandchildren say about this generation, about us? Martin Luther King said, I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. Really, we are intrinsically caught in this. We have to act; and I think this is the first step that we are taking. I also want to mention the very journey that we are starting on here today. I want to pay special tribute to the South African government, through His Excellency Ambassador Mugabe, whom we have been told really is the architect, when he was minister of science and technology. Maybe we could also request, through our AU structure. I do not know, in those structures, how much science and technology is featuring now. But from experience, I think it is important, if we have to meet all that has been put here for the ministries of science and technology, their hierarchy in cabinet, their budgetary allocations, to be raised as much and as far as possible. Short of that, in 10 years’ time, when we take stock, there will not be much that would have been made. For the young people who are going to respond to these competitions, who have ideas they want to express, without budgetary support in our countries, theirs will only remain mere pipe dreams.
Honorable colleagues, Your Excellencies, I want to say once more, as we go home tonight, let us remember to bring along those who have not been privileged to be with us here. What we were listening to tonight could have filled one of those audiences, one of those lecture theatres holding 2,000 people, 3,000 people. But I think it is not the numbers; it is the spirit. I am sure we will pick up from what you have given us tonight. The challenge is so great, so intense, the colleagues in SADC, who are in the SADC Committee, will do everything possible to ensure that our governments also do play a role for the subsequent competitions that will be there, so that the numbers can also increase. You have given us a big challenge, Honorable Mugabe, and we will rise up to this occasion. For next year’s national budget, we are going to push and knock, because it is not for us that we are going to do this; it is for our people. We have heard when Dr. Mugabe was speaking… We have seen loss of produce in our countries, agricultural produce. People work so hard, they do not use technology; they use their hands to produce the food. At the end of the day, 20% of it is lost to pests, etc. Cheap technology can change their living standards, can change their style. Through technology, we can improve on our production of goods, make our goods competitive, increase the volumes, and be meaningful in trade. That brings us to Japan, promoting today one village, one product. Dr. Mugabe, you did mention d i v e r s i t y. I w o u l d l i k e a l s o t o a d d a v e r y b i g contribution that Mr. Nyide has put toward policy direction. You have done your part. Now, one village, one product. It will not have to be the best of all. We have a small economy. We do not have many resources. But I think the whole concept is to help what you have, do it well, efficiently, send it out; then we will be contributing toward solving poverty levels of Africa by 50% by the year 2015, by reducing poverty levels, through what our people can produce; and science and technology
really is an answer to all this that we think can help us. In concluding my remarks, I must mention that I would have read a speech, but I find that would be justice to us all. I think we want to rise to the occasion, as we heard it, as we saw it happen. What should we do? Otherwise, we will drain ourselves and then time waits for no one. I want to thank University of Tokyo once more for all that they have done, in giving us this venue and making the arrangements that have made it possible for us to be here tonight. I also want to thank, on behalf of my SADC colleagues, the South African Embassy—the staff has been just wonderful. Mr. Lingela has worked to open our minds. When we are meeting with the Ambassador, he knows it all. He has done it. So, when we came up, you did guide us, and we are grateful to the Embassy for this support that you have given us. We will definitely play our part, like I just said. We want to thank all those that have been involved, in one way or another, in making it really possible for us to launch ourselves here tonight. Those who have traveled all the way, you can see the seriousness that SADC does really attach to this, to have heard our colleagues here—Mr. Nyide and Dr. Mugabe coming to join us. Even if they are here for 24 hours, 48 hours, it does inspire us. I want to say, on behalf of my colleagues, we thank you so much. We are really also grateful that the honorable minister of education from Pumalanga has been able to join us. We are really grateful, Honorable Minister, for your presence here tonight. I am sure, as you plan for your nation in that sector of education, especially science and technology, I think you will be able to inspire them from also what you are feeling here. This fits very well, to summarize it all, in what President Mbeki mentioned, when he talked about a renaissance.
Lingela: The Ambassador said it all. I cannot say more, only that this is the closing. Thank you very much for your attendance.