Pretoria – Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has congratulated Professor Tebello Nyokong, a distinguished scientist from Rhodes University, on winning the prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award.
The award ceremony took place on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the opening of the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly for Heads of State and Government.
Minister Pandor said this proved that South Africa and Africa have world class scientists.
“Our congratulations go to Prof Tebello Nyokong for shining the spotlight on South Africa by winning such a prestigious award,” she said.
Last year, another distinguished South African scientist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, won the same award.
Minister Pandor said she was pleased that the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly for Heads of State and Government meeting had adopted the African Space Policy and the African Space Strategy, which the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) commissioned in 2012.
South Africa chaired the working group that undertook the work of developing the African Space Policy and the African Space Strategy.
Space derived services such as Earth observation and satellite communications, navigation and positioning are crucial for the socio-economic development of the African continent. Over the past four decades, these services have played a significant role in international, national and regional economic and social development efforts.
This includes the proactive management of disease outbreaks, natural resources and the environment, responses to natural hazards and disasters, weather forecasting, climate change modelling and monitoring, agriculture and food security, and peacekeeping missions.
Affirming her support for the development of the African space programme, Minister Pandor said: “The benefits of such a programme include assisting in the development of a high-tech sector.
“This also has potential spin-offs for other fledgling industrial sectors and can provide benefits to the African continent.”