Thabo Mbeki Stands out for His Deep Insight

Article excerpt

As I prepare to fly back home to the UK, I read your article on Thabo Mbeki's opening address at this week's Knowledge Management Conference at the University of Stellenbosch Business School ("Mbeki challenges control of knowledge", January 17).

Having attended many knowledge management meetings across the world, Mbeki stands out as one of the few statesmen able to offer such a depth of consideration and insight into such a complex but critical subject. The democratisation of knowledge is not only critical to the betterment of society but goes hand in hand with promoting growth in South Africa's economy.

Driven by globalisation and the development of technology, SA has no choice but to address the knowledge management challenge. The knowledge train is already heading down the track.

Time has run out, South Africa needs to develop an informed and coherent knowledge strategy if it is to resolve its social challenges and build on its reputation and influence on the world stage.

I have limited experience of SA and so can only offer a technically competent but culturally and politically naive perspective on the challenges and opportunities I think South Africa faces in this critical area of national development.

During my time at the conference and week in Cape Town I have been struck by three things:

l The warmth of the welcome, not just from those at the University of Stellenbosch and at the conference,but from everyone I met: shop assistants, hotel and restaurant staff, politicians and business leaders alike. Thank you all. The pride and commitment of everyone to the success of South Africa is palpable.

l The honesty and ambition of the endeavour; public, private and voluntary. …