Tax-free science – a boon to Africa?

International companies could locate their research and development in Africa if the continent offered attractive incentives, a conference delegate said today.

If African countries were to start giving tax breaks to companies that might build laboratories on the continent, it could stem the brain drain, said Zeno Apostolides, a lecturer from the department of biotechnology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

“Let all international companies come and invest in science development, exempt them from paying taxes with tailored conditions on science for certain period — with that alone you will have created jobs and retained much-wanted scientists,” he told me today.

Apostolides believes such deals could attract the best infrastructure and bring back scientists who have gone to work in other parts of the world.

South Africa introduced R&D tax breaks in 2008, but the uptake from industry has so far been disappointing.

Munyaradzi Makoni, freelance journalist

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