South Africa and Italy have signed a new programme of cooperation for the next three years, committing to intensive collaboration in science, technology and innovation (STI). The cooperation will see the science communities of the two countries collaborating in biotechnology, medicine and health, nanotechnology, new advanced materials, information and communication technology, the environmental sciences, and radio astronomy.

(From left to right) Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa , DST Deputy Director General: International Cooperation and Resource, Daan du Toit

Senior officials from the two countries met in Pretoria yesterday to review and plan new priorities for collaboration under the science and technology agreement signed by Italy and South Africa in 1998.

The countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in support of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project.  The Medicina Radio Observatory, operated by the Radio Astronomy Institute of Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics, is collaborating closely with the SKA team in Cape Town on data acquisition and processing, among other things.

Speaking at the programme of cooperation signing event in Pretoria yesterday (5 August), the Department of Science and Technology's Deputy Director-General: International Cooperation and Resources, Mr Daan du Toit, said: "South Africa and Italy enjoy long-standing and strategic relations in STI. The significance of this programme is that it intensifies our cooperation in a number of shared priority areas."

Both countries place particular emphasis on international cooperation in STI and the sharing of information with other African countries.

Mr Du Toit said, "We need to put more effort into sharing information with our fellow Africans, especially the young people. The Department of Science and Technology is excited about the opportunities to partner with Italy in strengthening STI capacity elsewhere in Africa."

The Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, Mr Vincenzo Schioppa, emphasised the need to strengthen relations further.

"Sharing our knowledge and experience and creating job opportunities for South Africa and Italy is vital.  We are very proud to be part of this cooperation and we want to stay here," he said.

Ambassador Schioppa praised the renewed, wide-ranging commitment of the Italian Government to cooperation with South Africa, particularly in respect of STI, which has been strengthened by the dialogue established by South Africa's Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, and Italy's Minister of Education, Universities and Research,Stefania Giannini.

Issued by the Department of Science and Technology and the Italian Embassy in South Africa

Enquires:

Department of Science and Technology

David Mandaha at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or + 27 72 126 8910

Italian Embassy in South Africa

Paolo Bonissone at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or  +2712 423 0017