South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016: launchpad for new Maritime Research and Innovation Roadmap

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Pretoria: 19 October 2016

South Africa’s recently developed maritime research and innovation road map is anticipated to be among highlights at this year’s South Africa-Norway Science Week scheduled for Pretoria and Cape Town at month end.

picture1The inaugural event to be held in Pretoria on Monday 31 October before moving to Cape Town from Tuesday to Friday (November 01-04, 2016), is a joint initiative between the South Africa and Norway governments. Its aim is to provide a platform for exploration of opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.

This week, in the video below, Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen gave a broad, insightful overview of the event, and about which she said her country was very excited to be part of.

South Africa, a maritime country that doesn’t know it!

For South Africa which has worked closely with Norway on particularly research collaboration on a range of fields since launch of the South Africa-Norway Programme on Research Cooperation 15 years ago; the Science Week 2016 event is said set to provide opportunity for the country to share its recently developed marine and maritime sector research and innovation roadmap.

20161020_082313Funded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) under the Department of Transport, with partners inclusive of the Department of Science and Technology, and compiled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) the roadmap document in a book format titled A Research, Innovation and Knowledge Management Road Map for the South African Maritime Sector – Charting a Road to Maritime Excellence by 2030, was published earlier this year following to a lengthy, intensive consultative process involving no less than 400 stakeholders in the country’s maritime sector.

According to editors – all researchers at the CSIR’s Natural Resources and Environment division – Nikki Funke, Marius Classen, Richard Meisser and Karen Nortjie; development of the roadmap was in response to an expressed urgent need for coordinated guidance into research needs in the country’s maritime and marine environments.

According to the researchers, South Africa has 3924 kms of coastline and a “sea-land” area – known as an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – that is three times bigger than its land size (at 1.5-million square kilometers).  The country is also positioned on a major shipping route and has eight commercial ports and 44 non-commercial harbours.

Currently, 58% of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is based on trade and 98% of South Africa’s trade volume moves by ships. In addition, the country generates a significant 3.5% of the world’s seaborne trade volume.

However, in spite of these impressive numbers and with 30% of South Africa’s population living on the coast, many South Africans generally do not recognise their country as a maritime nation.

“In order to provide a mechanism through which…. critical questions can be answered, SAMSA, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to facilitate the process of developing a National Research, Innovation and Knowledge Management Road Map for the South African maritime.

“The Maritime Road Map presents a vision for the maritime sector, which is for South Africa to be globally recognized as a maritime nation by 2030. The Maritime Road Map subsequently identifies eight key objectives, which, together with a set of core research, innovation and knowledge management-focused actions per objective, serve to enable the maritime sector to chart a course to maritime excellence in South Africa.

roadmap“The Maritime Road Map therefore sets the agenda for the research, innovation and knowledge management needs for the maritime sector and maps out the direction the maritime sector is required to take in order to address these needs,” so state the editors.

Funke et al further state that the Maritime Road Map is also crucially relevant to the country’s maritime economic sector rejuvenation and repositioning under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched two years ago and through which the country’s oceans are estimated able to generate up to R 177 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2033 – more than three times the rate of contribution generated by the sector in 2010. As many as 22 000 new direct jobs are projected for 2019 with the figure anticipated to rise to between 800 000 and 1-million new jobs in 2033.

The Maritime Road Map according to the editors, has its scope spread between both the maritime and marine domains, with thematic areas defining the scope involving precisely shipping and transport, marine resources, coast and marine tourism and marine protection services and governance.

As many as 300 guests are expected to attend the South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 from October 31 to November 04, with a sizeable number of these being from overseas countries including Norway and France.

Keynote speakers will include Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor.

For more information, Click Here

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South Africa-Norway inaugural maritime sector ‘Science Week’ yet another cog in the oceans economy wheel

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Pretoria: 12 October 2016

South Africa’s multi-billions rand worth maritime economic sector presents business opportunities far fewer investors globally are willing to ignore, the least among these being Norwegians, who through both their government and independent institutions, are firming their bilateral relations with the country.

This becomes evident yet again last this month when the Scandinavian country – with long experience in oceans economy and globally respected expertise on matters marine and maritime – joins the South African government in staging a week-long “Science Week” beginning on October 31 in Pretoria and winding down in Cape Town five days later.

Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway
File Photo: Earlier this year, delegates to a two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Themed: “South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016”, the event – a first of its kind driven by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre of International Cooperation in Education, and supported in South Africa by a host of Government departments and institutions led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) – is billed as aimed at creating opportunity for further sharing more intensively, information on the many opportunities presented by South Africa’s oceans economy.

In a statement recently, according to ‘Team Norway’ – a Norwegian group comprising the Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Centre for International Co-operation in Education, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria – the event “aims to explore opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.”

The group states that the event is a result of and seeks to cement already well established relations between Norway and South Africa dating back to the ‘pre-freedom years when Norway actively supported opposition to the apartheid regime.

DSC_0148“The 1990s initiated an era of co-operation in higher education and research (and) since 2002, bilateral research programmes have provided support for 86 projects, of which 19 are still active,” it says, adding that annual high consultations between the two countries focus on areas of common economic and political interest, including the SANCOOP programme for research on climate change, environmental and renewable energy.

In addition, focus of the annual bilateral meetings between South Africa and Norway at Ministerial level have increasingly focused on areas for co-operation on South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The latter co-operation has since culminated in among others, the Norwegians in 2016 entering into a partnership with the Port Elizabeth-based Nelson Mandela University where they ploughed some R50-million over five years in a new academic centre to fight against illegal fishing in South Africa.

During 2016, the Norwegians were also part of a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector role-players in Port Elizabeth working on a strategy for an anticipated rollout of a South African national maritime cluster.

Later this month, they will again be joining South Africans to look at and share experiences related to the country’s opportunities and challenges with regards the ocean space over the next 10 years.

Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth are (Left) Norway's ambassador to South Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU
FILE PHOTO: Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth recently are (Left) Norway’s ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU

The discussion in plenary sessions will focus on among key issues; an ‘overview and strategic context to the blue economy’ dealing specifically with global trends and national strategies related to benefits of expanding bilateral cooperation in education, research, innovation and business development.

Also in focus will be South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) and how the Norwegians could contribute in its further development and advancement.

Related will be focus on global success stories and new funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and related.

Over 200 guests are already confirmed as attending the Science Week in Pretoria and Cape Town, among these being dozens of academics, specialists and innovators in the global oceans space from several universities, research institutions and  business sectors in South Africa, France, and a few others countries.

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South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor

Also key participants from South Africa are Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor; National Research Foundation executive director, Dr Aldo Stroebel; The Innovation Hub CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda; South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi and others.

From Norway the delegation is expected to include Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Tone Skogen; Research Council of Norway director-general, Mr Arvid Hallén, Innovation Norway director of Regions and Financing, Mr Per Niederbach; SINTEF executive Dr Karl Almås, and several others.

The South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 begins at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria on October 31 and wraps up in Cape Town on Friday, November 4, 2016 with excursions of the Western Cape by various interest groups that may involve focused seminars, workshops and network opportunities.

For more information on the event, and an online platform to register for attendance, please Click Here.

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South Africa and Norway thrash out strategy for envisaged national maritime sector cluster – a multi-media feature

Pretoria: 14 June 2016

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A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.

DSC_0126Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.

DSC_0181Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,

A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.

To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) recognized for empowerment and transformation

Pretoria: 14-04-2016

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DESERVING RECOGNITION:  South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele making a remark of appreciation to organisers of the national annual Oliver Empowerment Awards 2016 during which the parastatal was honoured with the Legend of Empowerment and Transformation Award. The award category is uncompetitive and bestowed on organisations in the country deemed by the award judges as deserving public recognition.

An apparent and ‘disturbing’ poor intake of post-graduate students by South Africa’s business sector is at best, an unusual and unacceptable anomaly given both the students’ significant academic knowledge depth but also vast economic opportunities especially in the country’s maritime economic sector.

That was the sum total of remarks by South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) chief executive officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele in his acceptance speech of the Oliver Empowerment Awards 2016’s Legends of Empowerment and Transformation Award bestowed the organisation at a ceremony held at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg on Thursday.

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SAMSA CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele (Third from Right) with some of the organisation’s management team (from Left), Morakabe ‘Raks’ Seakgwa (Snr Manager, Centre for Maritime Excellence), Mr John Phiri (Snr Management, HR: Skills Development), Ms Lindi Makgatho (Snr Manager: Organisational Development), Mr Tudor Hungwe (Chief Financial Officer) and Mr Jeremiah Molefe (HR).

SAMSA was honored with the prestigious Legend of Empowerment and Transformation Award at this year’s 15th version  of the Annual Oliver Empowerment Awards in recognition of its sterling record in the arena of empowerment and contribution to the country’s broad transformation.

Mr Mokhele, responding in part to Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor’s complaint in her speech at the event about an apparent glaring lack of appetite by South African business for post-graduates, Mr Mokhele said the country’s maritime economic sector offers vast opportunities especially for business keen on research and innovation.

He quantified the economic benefit for innovators in the maritime economic sector as worth between R129-R179-billion per annum, and waiting for the takers.

For Mr Mokhele’s full remarks on the matter listen to this 58 seconds audi clip….

For highlights of SAMSA’s work honored at this year’s Oliver Awards 2016, please click here

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South Africa Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor

In an earlier slot, main guest speaker Ms Pandor decried South Africa’s poor intake of post-graduates by the country’s businesses and outlined interventions taken by the Department of Science and Technology in response to the situation.

These include the establishment a decade ago of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to bridge what she described as “chasm” between research and development from higher education institutions, science councils, public entities, and private sector, and commercialisation.

For Ms Pandor’s full remarks click here to listen…