Address by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Breakfast
Meeting with Presidents of Japanese Universities to Discuss Opportunities for
Co-operation Between Japanese and South African Universities, New Otani Hotel,
Tokyo, Japan, 19 April 2006
Professor Masuo Aizawa, President of the Tokyo Institute of Technology,
Njabulo Ndebele, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town,
of Japanese universities,
Ladies and gentlemen,
is by no means a twist of fate that I am in Japan within a month from the time
when the South African Government launched the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills
Acquisition (JIPSA). Meeting with presidents of Japanese universities in Japan
brings into my mind the words of our President Thabo Mbeki where he said, I
am confident that Japan has many lessons to offer many of us as we strive to create
conditions that will ensure that all of humanity lives the life fit for humans.
South Africa has to overcome the shortage of suitable skilled labour for
us to realise an annual growth rate of at least 6% of the gross domestic product
(GDP) between 2010 and 2014. JIPSA is South Africas concrete step to support
the alignment of colleges and universities in their work of producing graduates
that we can employ who meet the demand and needs of employers in the public and
private sector. Even then JIPSA is only one of the interventions that seek to
address the skills challenges in South Africa. Our schools, universities, technical
colleges are our core institutions and skills generators.
that the single greatest impediment to South Africas shared economic growth
and development, as well as private investment programmes, is our shortage of
skills at all levels such as engineers, scientists, financial-personnel, project
managers, information technology (IT) specialists and skilled technical employees
such as artisans and information technology technicians and local government technical
and other managers that are critically needed as the economy moves into higher
gear and for service delivery.
One of the fundamental pillars of JIPSA
is the contribution of the Department of Foreign Affairs and embassies in sourcing
and attracting scarce skills from the international community to assist Government
to train people in foreign academic institutions and for international placements
where South Africa can train people through placements in foreign private companies
and governments as well as government related institutions.
It was my wish
to meet you today mainly to consider opportunities for co-operation between Japanese
and South African universities in human resource and skills development sphere.
I would like to share with you the priority areas that South Africa has identified
for co-operation with Japanese universities:
* High-level engineering and
planning skills for the network industries, transport, communications
and energy all at the core of national infrastructure programme
* City, urban
and regional planning and engineering skills desperately needed by local municipalities
Artisan and technical skills, with priority attention to those needs for national
* Management and planning skills in education, health
and in municipalities
* Teacher training for mathematics, science, information
and communication technologies (ICT) and language competence in public education
Specific skills needed by the sectors starting with tourism and business process
outsourcing (BPO) and cross cutting skills needed by all sectors especially finance;
project managers and managers in general
* Skills relevant to local economic
development needs of municipalities, especially developmental economists.
and South Africa have established the "Japan-South Africa Partnership Forum"
co-chaired by Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs to strengthen co-operation in
international affairs, trade and investment, economic co-operation, science and
technology and cultural exchanges. I recommend the establishment of a similar
forum for South African and Japanese universities to facilitate partnership in
human resource and skills development in the context of JIPSA.
for universities can be held annually in Japan and South Africa on a rotational
basis to help achieve the following objectives:
* To increase flows of
scientific knowledge and resources between South Africa and Japan through participation
in joint education, research and training programmes
* To share the best practice
in education, research and training through exchange of students, researchers
and managers between South Africa and Japan
* To facilitate the participation
of South Africa and Japan as significant players in the international science
and technology arena.
Though heavily funded by the government, all South
African public higher education institutions are autonomous, reporting to their
own councils rather than government.
Two of the most important funding
instruments available for the higher education sector are the National Student
Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). Since
its establishment in 1999, NRF remains the main government-supported form of funding
for postgraduate research in South Africa.
I believe, in South Africa there
is greater room for the private sector to support and influence higher education
inputs and outputs.
NRF and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
(JSPS) concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March 2005. As a result
of this MoU, JSPS and NRF have already approved funding for four research collaboration
projects involving the following Japanese institutions: Nagoya City University,
Tohoku University, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute and Chiba University
together with the following South African institutions: University of the Witwatersrand,
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Stellenbosch and the CSIR.
These institutions are collaborating in the areas of biotechnology, infectious
diseases, ICTs and food sciences.
With effect from 1 March 2007, a simplified
set of rules for the tax treatment of bursaries and scholarships provided by employers
will be introduced in South Africa. To encourage businesses to increase investment
in technology and innovation, the South African Government will increase the deduction
for current research and development expenditure from 100% to 150% and a more
favourable regime for depreciation of R&D capital expenditure is proposed.
We pride ourselves in the remarkable position that there is no other place
in the world where you can study the southern skies as well as you can do in Southern
Africa. President Thabo Mbeki officially opened the South African Large Telescope
(SALT) in South Africa in November 2005.
SALT is the largest telescope
in the Southern Hemisphere and represents a joint venture between seven countries,
11 organisations and 12 universities. South Africa has also submitted a bid to
host the Square Kilometre Array Telescope (SKA). This has involved building a
1 per cent SKA demonstrator called the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT).
process has enabled South African industry and academia to participate in the
technology development process. I welcome the existing collaboration in the field
of astronomy between Nagoya University in Japan and the South African Astronomical
South Africa continues to lead in the fields of anthropology
and palaeontology due to its unique heritage in fossil remains, from the earliest
vertebrates to human origins. The Sterkfontein World Heritage Site in South Africa
is the richest site in the world in terms of the number of hominid specimens.
All these offer exciting opportunities for collaboration with our institutions
of higher learning and students while at the same time offering unique tourism
World-class research in the field of palaeo-anthropology is
currently conducted in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, the
Transvaal Museum, the National Museum in Bloemfontein and the University of Cape
The world renowned South African scientist on human evolution and
analysis of early hominid fossils, Professor Emeritus Philip Tobias of the University
of the Witwatersrand presented lectures at the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University
as well as at the Aichi World Expo 2005 in Japan on the Significance of
the Fossil Hominid Discoveries at the Cradle of Humanity World Heritage Site.
There are limited places in the world where you can study infectious diseases
as well as you can do in Southern Africa.
The Department of Veterinary
Tropical Diseases of the University of Pretoria and the Onderstepoort Veterinary
Institute of the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC) for example
have sequenced and annotated the complete genome of the bacterium Ehrilchia ruminatium,
the causative agent of the deadly Heartwater Disease that has been destroying
cattle, sheep and goat herds throughout Sub-Saharan Africa for centuries.
work done in this area represents the first entire sequencing of any organism
that has been done in Africa. We hope this breakthrough will help advance frontiers
of veterinary medicine.
I also welcome the support of the NRF to the research
collaboration between the University of Venda for Science and Technology and the
School of Medicine, Tohoku University in Japan on their study of the antimicrobial
activities of local medicinal plants against HIV and opportunistic bacterial as
well as parasitic pathogens incriminated in HIV and AIDS cases.
African sub-continent has the richest temperate flora in the world by far and
is one of the most diverse regions of the world. Moreover, it has multiple hotspots
where considerable concentrations of endemic plants are found.
the southern tip of Africa, on less than 2.5% of the global land surface, about
10% of the plant species of the world occur. Indeed, with about 24 000 species
recorded for South Africa and some of its neighbours, the country is home to the
most diverse and species-rich temperate flora of the world.
found in Southern Africa offers a wide range of opportunities. A good example
is South Africas CSIR patent that followed research and development of the
appetite suppressant molecule in the Hoodia cactus, native to South Africa.
trials continue internationally on the product, which if successful will form
the basis of a new obesity treatment. Commercial benefits are anticipated to arise
from the potential commercial success of this technology.
is endowed with several mineral resources and Japan is the major importer in Asia
of minerals from South Africa, particularly platinum and aluminium.
many years the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Japan has been
collaborating with the University of Limpopo, University of Witwatersrand, CSIR
and Mintek on various areas of high temperature materials including the development
of platinum group metal-based alloys for high temperature applications.
wish to bring to your attention the words of Prime Minister Koizumi at the World
Summit in South Africa where he said, Japan, a country poor in natural resources,
has grown to be what it is today on the strength of its human resources.
That is what we have come to learn more about here and to seek concrete
relations with each of your institutions. I am very happy that Professor Ndebele
will sign an agreement that leads us to that direction. We seek an exchange with
students, academics, public servants and our small, medium and micro-enterprises
(SMMEs) and people especially Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) practitioners.
We look forward to a successful stay in the next few days.
Japan has indeed
many lessons to offer South Africa as we strive to create conditions that will
ensure that we achieve an annual growth rate of at least 6% of the GDP.
Issued by: The Presidency
19 April 2006