Miss. Tascha Terblanche joined STEPI-IICC as a visiting researcher from 1st July.
She is from South Africa and is currently studying for a Master's degree at Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland. She will be staying with us until the end of August and during her stay at STEPI-IICC, she will provide us insight on Africa as a region by participating in collaborative in-depth research.
To share Africa's current status as well as her experience here at STEPI-IICC, Miss. Terblanche kindly agreed to an interview.


First of all, welcome to STEPI IICC. I hope you find your stay enriching and inspiring. Let me start by asking, why did you choose to come to Korea and why STEPI in particular?

In my opinion, there are more lessons to learn from Korea than from western countries. Korea used to be a developing country but has gone through a rapid economic development that in just half a century Korea developed into one of the leading economies in the world. I think Korea's position can definitely help Africa because Korea has made a successful transition which Africa is aiming for.
Also, science and technology represent a particularly important opportunity for Africa for economic development and social transformation. Korea leveraged science and technology to develop so it is particularly well suited to share its experience with Africa. Moreover STEPI has played an important role in harnessing STI to promote socioeconomic development in Korea so I believe STEPI is the right place for me to learn and experience successful Korean STI policy measures.


And, how has your experience been at STEPI-IICC?

I am very much enjoying my time in Korea as a member of the IICC team. I would like to add that I have a great appreciation for the people in this office and I am very grateful that you have all welcomed me so warmly and I feel very much part of a family.
I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on research that I genuinely care about and to share this in the biweekly seminars. I have also been exposed to so much new knowledge and learnt new aspects through the seminars hosted at STEPI as well as reading about the work STEPI does.
Personally, I am very much interested in development economics and the positive impact of FDI and ODA on developing economies demonstrate that they form the foundation for economic growth in developing countries. To my knowledge, Korea's ODA has a stronger focus on capacity building and empowerment. Given the importance of the role of government when it comes to taking advantage of science and technology opportunities, donors have a unique role to play in supporting governments. The fact that STEPI-IICC focuses on partnerships and capacity building in STI with governments in Africa seems very promising and I think the center can develop into a unique organization that contributes to the advancement of Korea's ODA system.


In addition to capacity building, can you think of any other approaches that Korea may consider?

I think building partnerships with the future leaders of industry and the public sector through dialogue and education opportunities would be very helpful. Korea could possibly consider partnering with S&T industry companies in Africa to establish partnerships where students are selected to study in Korea and then get placed in these companies back in Africa after graduation.
Companies would then benefit by getting local graduates who are educated at world class S&T institutions and Korean universities may also benefit since they are able to attract high caliber African students. African students benefit since they have an opportunity to study abroad and gain work experience locally. There can be binding caveats that ensure students return to their home countries.


What trends are you seeing in Africa related to Science and Technology?

One big trend is the increasing focus on the role of the university in the science and technology space. After many decades of spending being focused on primary and secondary education, there seems to be an increased focus on dedicating resources to higher education and in particular higher education in science and technology. The World Bank and the African Development Bank have promising programs that seek to establish centers of excellence at universities for the study of science and technology. This is a very promising development since universities are central to Africa's ability to harness the opportunities in science and technology since they educate scientists and engineers, produce research and innovation and have a unique opportunity to cooperate with industry to ensure that the necessary human capital is developed.