Italy is one of South Africa’s main trading partners (5th overall) and a major source of foreign direct investment. Italy, a prominent EU member, is also the current chair of the G8 and provided strong support to the MAP/NAI during the recent G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy.

An agreement on science and technology cooperation between South Africa and Italy entered into force on 15 June 2000. The first Joint Commission on Science and Technology with Italy in terms of this agreement took place in Pretoria from 22-23 October 2001. A protocol outlining various joint projects (around 50 projects) was discussed. A joint protocol outlining those projects that will receive funding in terms of the arrangement was one of the positive outcomes of this 1st session of the Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission confirmed priorities/focus areas of mutual interest to be promoted by joint scientific and technological projects.

The areas of mutual interest include medicine, agriculture and the management of natural resources with respect to enhancing sustainable development. The co-operation will be supported by the exchange of relevant information, attendance of seminars and workshops as well as research visits to both countries.

The South African party was led by Dr Chris Scheffer, Director International Science and Technology Cooperation from the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, while the Italian delegation was be led by Counsellor Marco Del Panta, who heads the Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Co-operation in the Italian Foreign Ministry. Professor Maria Vittoria Migaleddu, Technical Assistant within the Italian Foreign Ministry, assisted Counsellor Del Panta in his deliberations.

This 1st Session of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology will further strengthen the already sound and extensive bilateral relations between our two countries.

Contact: Ronnie Mamoepa at 082-990-4853

Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs, 23 October 2001