South Africa

South Africa


11 December 2019







Hi, my name is Keabetswe T. Ncube

NEF Ambassador – South Africa

Keabetswe T. Ncube, Postgraduate Researcher and Next Einstein Forum ambassador, South Africa.
A PhD candidate at the Agricultural Research Council, registered PhD Genetics with University of Kwa-Zulu Natal focusing on goat growth and meat genomics. She is the recipient of the National Research Foundation Innovation Doctoral Scholarship Award as well as the Agricultural Research Council Professional Development Scholarship which rewards excellence among young scientists and researchers. United States Forest Services International Visitor Program Alumni by completing her research exchange program at the USDA-ARS Animal Genomics Improvement Lab in Beltsville, Maryland, USA. Ms. Ncube’s work with ARS enhances ongoing work by the ARS lab on the USDA-USAID Feed the Future Livestock Improvement Project. Named a Top Outstanding Young Person in academic Excellence by Junior Chamber International South Africa (2017) and is a Black Woman In Science Fellow (2019). Ncube holds a BTech in Biotechnology with Tshwane University of Technology and a MSc. in Life Sciences with University of South Africa. She has two publications and has co-authored one Book chapter. She is a National Project Coordinator for Rural Education Festival (REDFEST) where she uses her passion for education to ensure that learners are given an opportunity to be exposed to available opportunities in the STEMI field.


South Africa is currently considered one of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa. South Africa is working to profile its scientific achievements and to advance its position among the world’s scientifically and technologically advanced countries. In order to achieve this, the Department of Science and Technology provides leadership, an enabling environment and resources for science, technology and innovation. it will be necessary to accelerate our efforts to build a society that is scientifically literate. This means that we must ensure that our citizens are aware of the importance of science for the growth of the economy and the well-being of ordinary people and are sufficiently informed about science to engage critically with policymakers. It also means that we must support science education and promote careers in science. Science, technology and innovation serve to make people’s lives easier and more comfortable. Therefore, South Africa has enabled research and development in strategic and emerging focus areas such as space science, energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, photonics and indigenous knowledge systems. Science Engagement provides the basis for the national coordination of science engagement initiatives that will stimulate an appreciation of the role of science and technology in building a knowledge-intensive economy and a better life for all.





Agriculture and the 4 th Industrial Revolution: How merging agriculture and STEMI can transform rural economy through innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation

9:00 – 4:30

Plant Science Seminar Room, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, Pretoria, Gauteng

Smart agriculture is a transformation in the agricultural industry that helps to guide actions required to modify and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support the development and guarantee food security during an ever-changing climate. Food demand is on an all-time high and the industry is under pressure to reach the demand, this is therefore a perfect boost for the demand of smart agriculture. This involves the adoption of advanced technologies such as Big Data, GPS, IoT and connected devices. Smart agriculture helps in automated farming, collection of data from the field and then analyses it so that the farmer can make accurate decision in order to grow high quality crop. The field data are collected with the help of sensors, cameras, micro controllers, and actuators. One example of this is prediction farming in the era of climate change. There are apps designed to collect climate data on rain and other associated data, this data is then used to help farmers predict when they can start planting so that their crops will get enough water through rainfall therefore leading to high yield. Pella village is a semi-arid rural and disadvantaged low-income community reliant on agriculture for income and food security. With the high unemployment rate in South Africa, Pella village community is not excluded in the number of those without jobs and any possible income. Pella, being a not so developed village with high potential of being the next big agricultural hub, is therefore the best to focus this event in the area as it will attract potential investors such as the Agricultural Research Council, Biotechnology Platform that already has a project in the community using animal genomic tools to improve livestock therefore improving the lives of farmers and also created employment. The agricultural sector is one of the fields that is overlooked by the youth especially in the rural communities due to lack of information and access to information. It is not hard to notice that this generation is a tech generation. Young people from all walks of life are hooked on technology in one way or the other. On the other hand, an average farmer in around 60years old. How do we bridge the age gap in agriculture? Through technology and entrepreneurship. This is one of the ways we can attract young people. If there are apps that can be used for crop measurements, livestock weight monitoring, irrigation and so forth, these are the things that young people will be more interested in. This event will also focus on young people and how they can be industry players. The event will incorporate industry players and universities to exhibit and showcase their scientific work as they use it on a daily basis as well as talk to youth about their future in science, career paths to follow and possible funding opportunities. The desired outcomes are firstly to bring agricultural awareness in the youth of the area and to show them that farming is not all about getting dirty and being on field. Through this workshop we will look at the tech and innovation skills in the area and see how we can work together to create employment and help alleviate poverty. This is also aimed at attracting industry players who are looking to invest and venture into new grounds to see how they can collaborate with the local leadership and stakeholders and unravel the scientific and business potential in the area. Finally, the main aim is to draft a paper on how smart agriculture can be used for community development, job creation and poverty alleviation.



Science and Cocktails Information and Networking dinner

5:00 – 8:30

Department of Science and Innovation, Lynnwood, Pretoria, Gauteng

Women In Science Initiatives and opportunities by the Department of Science and Innovation,and National Research Foundation.


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