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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Norway pumps R50-million into South Africa’s fight against illegal fishing

R50-million over five (5) years for new academic centre for fight against illegal fishing in South Africa

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
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

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

The Norwegian government on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth for establishment of an academic centre at the university that will be devoted to studies and strategy development contributing to the fight against illegal fishing in South Africa and globally.

The agreement involves a R50-million funding over five years provided by the Norwegian government to help establish a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishering as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.

The agreement was signed by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the NMMU and Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norway ambassador to South Africa.

For a five minute view of the historic agreement please Click Here

 

Maritime sector industry clustering: from competition to synergy

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

Establishment of clusters in South Africa’s maritime economic sector could have far more advantages for business owners in the sector than is derived by companies operating in isolation and in silos as is currently the case now. Among other things, the existence of a cluster would rather than eliminate competition, create synergies characterized by greater co-operation with shared benefits along values chains.

This was the strongest sentiment to emerge on the first day of a two day seminar on Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster for South Africa – attended by a range  of thought leaders from South Africa and on Norway, on the need for development of clusters in the country’s maritime sector.

Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

Several speakers, among them Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Malek Pourzanjani, CEO of SAIMI and Mr Prasheen Maharaj, CEO of Shipyards said the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economic in 2014 provided South Africa an ideal platform upon which industry in the country’s maritime economic sector and government could collaborate to ensure rapid and sustainable development of the sector for the benefit of all South Africans.

Crucial to it all, however; was intentional and determined engagement both within the maritime business sector with a view to establishing effective collaborative channels, but also between the sector and the public sector.

Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs
Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs

Ms Beaumont outlined the nature and purpose of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme as well as the milestones achieved to date since its formal launch in 2014. She described the programme as intended to both develop and transform the sector for integration into the country’s mainstream economy for the benefit of all South Africans.

According to Ms Beaumont, the initiative has certain characteristics among which is the need for speed in implementing identified projects, but also the work undertaken jointly through cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders.

In his adress Dr Pourzanjani said; “This seminar is being held under the banner of Operation Phakisa to explore the establishment of a national maritime cluster. As with Operation Phakisa itself, the success of such a cluster will depend on the involvement and collaboration of all maritime role-players and sectors – it is not something that a single entity or authority can make happen on their own.”

Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)
Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)

According to Dr Pourzanjani, industrial clusters are not a new phenomenon and already exist in some other business and industrial sectors, such the country’s motor manufacturing, tourism and other services industries.

In Europe, he said; the European Network of Maritime Clusters drew its membership from 17 countries and just two weeks ago had met with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, where optimism was expressed that “maritime clusters are blooming across Europe”.

These maritime industries, according to Dr Pourzanjani accounted for about five-million jobs and just less than five percent of the E.U’s G.D.P.

He said:” The value of clustering lies in their supportive environment for collaboration and innovation, which in turn assists industrial and small business development, employment creation, and overall value-added economic growth.”

Mr Maharaj said a currently dominant sense of self-preservation and advancement among especially what he described as a “few large companies and few Government employees” was not helping South Africa’s cause as the attitude to business development enabled only a handful to live well “while millions of our people are left jobless and poor.”

Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards
Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards

According to Mr Maharaj, quoting Algeria president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as newly appointed head of ECOWAS, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed.”

He said: “Through Operation Phakisa, the Government is unveiling a new Marine Manufacturing and Industrial policy framework. This policy focuses on opportunity, growth and innovation in niche markets where South Africa can compete.

“It recognizes the value of marine transportation as an important industrial infrastructure, with environmental as well as economic benefits. And it focuses on partnerships, as it is only by working together that we can succeed. So the key to success is collaboration to drive innovation, resulting in greater efficiency and competitiveness.”

The same view was shared by Mr Peter Miles co-founder and executive of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Maritime Cluster established some three or so years ago.

According to Mr Miles, each of the port cities along the coast of South Africa should have a maritime cluster and through which a national cluster could be anchored, with a coordinating role. He suggested also that there should be a fund established to assist the formation and ongoing administration of the clusters.

According to Mr Miles, the funding could be raised through a rand-for-rand contribution from both the public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, a host of Norwegian industry, research and education experts have and continue to share their experience of clusters in that country’s maritime economic sector, with their overwhelming message being that South Africa’s sustainable success with its Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will depend largely on such collaborative structures.

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.

Led by Norway’s ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norwegian continent includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense of the Norwegian Science & Technology, Dr Aase Kaurin of the Norway Research Council, Mr Svein Fjose of Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, the Dean of the University of Agder.

The two day seminar wraps up with a tour of the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.

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