n Journal for Contemporary History - South Africa's two track approach to science diplomacy

Volume 41 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



While debate continues around the usefulness of the concept of Science Diplomacy, in practice international scientific relations are already facilitating diplomatic engagement, and diplomatic relations are supporting international scientific engagement. This interaction takes place in the context of the current global knowledge structure where industrialised or developed states are the "producers" of knowledge, and developing states the "consumers". With science, technology and innovation integral to addressing transnational challenges, this article considers the expanding body of literature, which is primarily from developed states, highlighting the shortfall in understanding the role of developing states in science diplomacy. The article then considers developments in South Africa's science diplomacy, arguing that Pretoria demonstrates a two-track approach; one that reflects the state's pursuit of international recognition as a "producer" and exporter of knowledge at the centre of the global knowledge structure; and the second, where a shortfall in capacity and resources has increasingly seen the state as a "consumer" or importer of knowledge in meeting domestic priorities.

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