You asked where most of the resistance comes from. I think there is a political dimension. The business sector is another case, because in South Africa the greatest volume of research and development is done by the business community. In that sense, we are more like an OECD core member state than an emerging economy. However, the business community does not publish very much in the scientific literature, so that does not really come up. The complication arises when you have a research project, and this takes us to the Bayh-Dole Act in your country—a research project that is jointly funded by business and public funds. How do you now decide which piece of data goes into the public domain and which remains behind the company walls? There is resistance. It is political. It is nationalistic, techno-nationalism, as I said. There are also proprietary restrictions.
MS. MUÑOZ: I think that the big problem for implementing this in Chile is our scientific community, because of the cultural aspect. In this context, the researchers do not have knowledge about what is important in these matters in the development of the country, and its public value.
MR. MAYALA: I want to give a little bit of experience from my country. First of all, I think it is known that you cannot put science and politics in the same pot. It is very difficult to act together. In my country, we want to come up with something that people will see. There are those groups who wait and see and then they react. We are in that kind of situation. I mentioned that we are trying to build a data repository. We hope that when it is out, we can get an appropriate reaction from people.
PARTICIPANT: I have a question for Dr. Kahn. You mentioned that South Africa is now a member of the BRICS Group. I presume that means more cooperation and partnerships with the large developing countries that are members of that network. You also mentioned that there is the issue of South Africa in Africa. You did not talk about that as much. Could you describe some of the partnerships and networking that are going on in South Africa with other African countries?
DR. KAHN: First, on an economic standpoint, South Africa accounts for something like 30 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product and around 70 percent of its scientific production. Those two walk together. South Africa, for the last 10 years, has been paying the bill to host the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and now the African Union’s Science and Technology Secretariat, which is hosted in our Council of Science and Industrial Research in Pretoria. In addition, I mentioned the role that we are playing in supporting higher-education development. I mentioned a figure of 50,000 students from across Africa studying in South Africa, out of a student population of around a half a million. It is close to 10 percent. Of these 50,000, fully 30,000 come from an economic grouping known as the Southern African Development Community of 15 southern African countries, including Madagascar. Those students are regarded as home students. They pay exactly the same fees as I pay for my own children. So, South Africa is donating 1 billion Rand (the equivalent to 122.1 million U.S. dollars) a year to support students from the Southern African Development Community. This is very important.
Because of the economic dominance of the country, there are many international agreements to which we are a party and where we play a central, coordinating role, ranging from air traffic navigation to weather and climate mapping and the like.
Southern Africa’s achievements lie in environmental modeling and monitoring cross-borders, as well as in the harmonization of transport links. All of these involve considerable research and data sharing. So we in South Africa are playing a role both in capacity development and in data sharing in numerous fields, across southern Africa in particular, but further afield as well. A lot of this, of course, is driven by self-interest, and our business activities to the north are well supported by this research investment over many years.