UN hand-picks Rhodes professor

THE UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has appointed Rhodes University professor Tebello Nyokong as adviser of a proposed technology bank and science panel to help lead least-developed countries (LCDs) out of poverty.

The panel will be chaired by Rwanda's Romain Murenzi, currently executive director of the World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy and includes five women and five men from LDCs and their development partners from the global north and south.

Nyokong is the only professor in South Africa to be appointed. "To know that the office of Ban Ki-moon even knows that I exist was such a huge surprise and a great honour.

"So it goes with my belief that Rhodes University is a leading university. This gives me hope that I can meaningfully be involved in mechanisms for establishing a science and technology base in the African continent," said Nyokong.

Born in Lesotho, Nyokong lectures chemistry and nanotechnology.

She was a member of South Africa's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research strategic review committee, and also a member of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

She is the recipient of the Africa-Arab State 2009 L'Oreal-Unesco Award for Women in Science and has been inducted into the Lesotho Hall of Fame.

A media statement from, Ban's office said: "The secretary-general has asked the high-level panel to prepare practical recommendations on this important matter, which can provide a strong impetus to accelerating structural transformation and sustainable development of the LDCs.

"The high-level panel is constituted to examine the scope and functions of the proposed technology bank.”

By Staff writer

Photo by: Sophie Smith

Source: Cape Times