The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, has welcomed the signing of an agreement between South Africa andMadagascar that will see the two countries cooperating in science, technology and innovation (STI).

The new agreement was signed yesterday in Johannesburg by Minister Pandor and Madagascar's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Marie Rasoazananera.

Both ministers said the agreement would deepen cooperation between the two countries and boost Africa's research capacity, empowering it to deal with challenges facing the continent through STI.

South Africa's STI cooperation with Madagascar is strategic due to the latter's status and the quality of its basic research outputs.  The country produces a high number of university graduates and, like South Africa, has a clear vision and national drive to create knowledge capital through research outputs.

Madagascar is one of the eight African countries involved in the Square Kilometre Array project to build the world's largest radio telescope. The country is also actively involved in the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network, which involves the construction of terrestrial and marine optical fibre networks throughout Africa.