South Africa and Madagascar strengthen cooperation to address Africa’s challenges

Madagascan delegation touring the facilities

South Africa and Madagascar signed a bilateral agreement on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), on 14 October 2015 in Johannesburg. The agreement was signed by South African's Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, and Madagascar's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Marie Rasoazananera. This agreement aims to strengthen cooperation in STI between the two countries. Before the agreement was signed, the delegation visited the NEPAD-SANBio Hub at the CSIR to familiarise themselves with the work done there, as well as the type of infrastructure available for use.

The signing of the agreement follows a visit to Madagascar, in late 2014, by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), together with NEPAD-SANBio, on a joint STI workshop, which focused on biodiversity, renewable energy, mining and astronomy. Both countries are part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, CSIR Biosciences Executive Director, welcomed the delegation and provided an overview of the CSIR. Moreover, she highlighted possible areas that the CSIR could collaborate with Madagascar in biotechnology.

Dr Claudine Ramiarison, Director-General of Scientific Research in the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology, remarked that it is a great pleasure to be in South Africa with the CSIR, and DST in particular, as the future partners of Madagascar on STI.

"After this discussion and the signing of the agreement between the two countries, we will develop a cooperation of agreement between the CSIR and the Madagascar Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research," Dr Ramiarison continued.

Dr Ereck Chakauya, acting network manager for NEPAD-SANBio, gave an overview of SANBio as a platform for shared biosciences research, development and innovation to address health and nutrition issues in Southern Africa. As a network, SANBio is as much about working together as it is about facilitating collaboration within the region. This was followed by a presentation from Stephen Koopman, energy projects and contracts manager for the CSIR Energy Centre, who also highlighted possible areas of collaboration.

Furthermore, Dr Barend Taute, a CSIR Contract Research and Development Manager gave a presentation on the research and development groups, as well as collaboration projects with international and local partners.

The DST and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Madagascar met later in the day to sign the agreement.