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After a decade of democratic government in South Africa's, the country's scientific credentials remain poor. Published research has declined compared to global output, and ageing white scientists continue to dominate the research community.

But this editorial argues that hope may lie in the new appointment of Mosibudi Mangena as the country's minister of science and technology. A former minister of education, Mangena has a background as an applied mathematician (see South Africa appoints new science minister).

Mangena benefits from insight into one of the main underlying problems facing South African science — a lack of qualified teachers and resources to educate its huge school-going population. The article argues that initial indications suggest that Mangena will not hesitate to articulate solutions — but these will require financing, in the face of many other pressing demands.

Link to full article in Nature

Reference: Nature 429, 113 (2004)