Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 228

I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E & A F R I C A
to one that is more of a partnership.
Consequently, we realise that when we put our
money on the table, we also have a voice and
can help craft that relationship and decide
where to forge collaboration.
“Co-operation through the Africa-EU
Partnership has allowed us to grow as a
country and to enjoy relationships with other
countries without necessarily appearing as a
big brother on the continent. We can contribute
resources, though not necessarily the same
quantum of resources, and demonstrate a
financial commitment, strongly encouraging
other African countries to become involved.”
Masoka elaborated: “In addition to the Africa-
EU Partnership, which is particularly benefitting
South Africa and a reason why we are investing
so much money in the African continent, we
signed a strategic partnership with the EU in
2007. This latest partnership sees the EU
recognise the important role South Africa plays
at a regional level in southern African, as well
as on the continent and within the international
community. Over the last eight years, South
Africa and the EU have continued to forge a
close mutual relationship.”
Targeting R&D
The South African Government has made a
concerted effort to target its research and
innovation funding towards helping to meet the
major challenges the country is facing today.
“The government, in addition to many African
countries, is investing considerably more
money in R&D,” the director told Portal. “In the
early 2000s, African countries committed to
increase expenditure on research and
development to 1% of GDP, yet we have never
reached that target. However, after making this
promise, many African countries have begun to
create ministers of science and technology.
“In most cases, people consider research as
taking place in the laboratory and are unsure
when it will come to fruition. In South Africa, we
are trying to demystify this belief. For example,
the South African Ministry of Health is investing
a lot of money in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria research. Yet at the same time, we are
also aware that there are products that must come to fruition sooner to
help address social health issues.”
Cross-departmental
Speaking to Portal, Masoka said that he and his colleagues are also
working across different ministerial departments to help realise the
potential of science and technology.
“We are working with the Department of Basic Education and investing
a lot of money in ICT, enabling wireless connectivity to the internet in
schools. We are also investing a lot of money in the energy sector, which
has a direct impact on the socioeconomic environment. Working with
the Minister of Energy, we can decide to pursue certain technological
developments based on the research undertaken with our international
partners and at specific research institutes. Furthermore, we also have
the ability to commission studies to help direct and make genuine,
science-based, informed policy decisions. For example, in regards to
water, we can propose the required international standards and the type
of research that needs to be undertaken to meet such basic needs.
“This type of research and science intervention allows us, as a
department of science and technology, to help provide basic needs to
South African citizens. As much as the mandate is around research and
development, we are assisting other government departments to actually
implement social services with the help of evidence-based science and
the involvement of researchers, determining new ways of assistance.”
EDCTP
Along with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is a key
participant in the second phase of the EDCTP. The public-public
partnership brings together 13 European and 13 African countries and
focuses on increasing the speed of development of vaccines to combat
HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected infectious diseases. The
joint programme is also receiving part of its funding from Horizon 2020.
Masoka explained South Africa’s increasingly close involvement in this
partnership: “The EDCTP is one of the most dynamic EU programmes
South African
Government
departments are
working together to
invest in school ICT
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