Naledi Pandor awarded Germany’s Grand Cross of Merit

10 May 2016

Germany has awarded South African Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor with the Grand Cross of Merit.

“With the Grand Cross of Merit we recognise Naledi Pandor’s continuous efforts to deepen cooperation between our two countries,” said German Ambassador to South Africa, Walter Lindner, at a ceremony last month.

“Pandor is for us a symbol of the new South Africa: modern, innovative, dedicated to scientific progress and also outstanding female leadership,” he said.

The minister said she was humbled and honoured by the privilege.

“In particular I am pleased that we have been able to benefit from very strong relations with the science community from Germany,” she said.

Mutually beneficial

According to the German embassy in South Africa, the minister has been actively promoting the bilateral partnership between the two countries. She was key in the design and orientation of the German-South African Year of Science.

“Together we launched the 2012/13 German-South African Year of Science to celebrate the scientific collaboration and partnership between our countries,” Pandor said in her speech.

“During the year-long series of events, joint ventures between institutions in our countries were expanded, science and technology among the young people of German and South Africa popularised, and South Africa and Germany were promoted as key locations for strong research-based companies.”

Science and Africa

Pandor said that while South Africa was a leader in research on the continent, more investment in science and technology was needed so that African scientists would not have to pursue their work in high-income countries.

“The International Organisation for Migration estimates that some 300 000 professionals from the African continent live and work in Europe and North America,” Pandor said. “There are policies that developing countries can adopt to combat this one-way migration, and we look to the success of other countries in fostering return migration or circular migration.”

About the award

Theodor Heuss, the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, introduced the Federal Cross of Merit in 1951 to “visibly express recognition and gratitude to deserving men and women of the German people and of foreign countries”, the embassy said.

It is given for achievements which serves to improve the country in the political, socioeconomic and intellectual fields – “an award to all those whose work contributes to the peaceful rise of the Federal Republic of Germany”.

Sources: Department of Science and Technology and the German Embassy in South Africa