Nanotech African Style

South AfricaThis week we are in South Africa, wrapping up the 8th World Nano-Economic Congress, which took a slightly different track to previous events which were very much focused on making the link between nanoscience and global business.

Each World Nano-Economic Congress has a different focus depending on its geographic location, and some of the key issues addressed in South Africa were health and water, and of course minerals.

What became very clear during the conference is that unlike the rest of the continent, South Africa has a highly developed scientific and technical infrastructure, and is busy implementing a national nanotechnology strategy that is the equal of many European ones, both in terms of its objectives and the per capita funding levels. In addition, the plan has a very clear social agenda, focusing on addressing some of the continent’s largest problems.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, they have political buy in from someone who genuinely undertands the technology – a real rarity among politicians anywhere.

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