Nzimande highlights importance of international collaboration in fighting COVID

The seventh annual Science Forum South Africa has kicked off on Wednesday, bringing together local and international experts to discuss the role of science, technology and innovation in addressing global and local challenges.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande addresses members of the media in Pretoria on 8 March 2021 on funding discussions for prospective students for the 2021 academic year. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The importance of international collaboration in tackling COVID-19 has been highlighted at the Science Forum South Africa.

The seventh annual event has kicked off at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria on Wednesday, bringing together local and international experts to discuss the role of science, technology and innovation in addressing global and local challenges.

Key speakers included bioinformatician professor Tulio de Oliviera as well as the World Health Organisation’s vaccine research coordinator Dr Martin Friede.

In his virtual opening address, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande highlighted the key role of scientific research in addressing daily needs including health scares.

“The challenges that face humanity today, do not really recognise the borders that exist between our various countries. It is these trends and opportunities that arise from our interconnectedness that necessitate and justify the existence of platforms such as this one.”

De Olivieria from the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation Sequencing Platform reiterated South Africa cannot be punished for being first to identify the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a limited number of information sessions will be hosted on Wednesday, while the event moves fully online for the remaining two days.