Statement on Visit by South Africa's Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane to Spain for Discussions with his Spanish Counterpart, Mr. Josep Pique 10-13 May 2003

South Africa's Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Dr Ben Ngubane paid an official visit to Spain at the invitation of his counterpart Josep Pique from 10-13 May 2003.

During the visit, Minister Ngubane held wide-ranging discussions with Minister Pique on science and technology co-operations between South Africa and Spain in Barcelona, met with the Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Ms. Pilar del Castillo Vera and addressed a high level conference at the influential Spanish Centre for Superior Sciences and Technology in Madrid on forging partnerships between the developed world and Africa on science and technology cooperation in an NEPAD context. On that occasion Minister Ngubane was awarded an honorary professorship by the Rector of the centre, Mr. D Fernando de Salas Lopez, for the Centre's course on NEPAD.

After wide-ranging discussions with Minister Pique on science and technology cooperation between South Africa and Spain in areas such as innovation policy, human resource transformation in science and technology and effective science and technology systems in government, Minsters Ngubane and Pique signed and agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between South Africa and Spain which makes provision for intensified interaction between South African and Spain in this field.

The objective of the agreement is to identify critical areas of mutual benefit and interest in Science and Technology (S&T) for potential cooperation. Through the agreement, possibilities of extending Research and Development (R&D) partnerships to a regional level with, for example, SADC and Mediterranean countries, will be explored and S&T exchange programmes between the two countries will be initiated.

Spain, not only has one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, but is also an important member of the European Union (EU), and as such, will be a valuable partner in attracting support for Science and Technology programmes in the Sixth Framework Programme.

Participation in the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union (FP6) is South Africa's major strategic focus over the next period, and our country has developed a network of national coordinators to ensure participation.

South Africa will therefore endeavour to obtain a commitment for the continuation of Spanish co-operative support for projects in the field of science and technology, but will also foster relations in support of the objectives of NEPAD.

Both Ministers were of the opinion that the agreement will contribute to economic growth potential through the interaction of scientific and technological institutions, to the mutual benefit of the people. Also in support of the agreement, specific programmes and projects will be developed to enhance growth and innovation systems in both countries.

Minister Ngubane also met with Ms. Pilar de Castillo Vera, the Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sport. During the constructive discussions a proposed bilateral agreement on cooperation in cultural affairs was finalised. Minister Castillo Vera will visit South Africa later this year in order to sign the aforementioned agreement and to discuss a practical plan of action on cooperation in the field of culture between the two countries, to mutual benefit.

Minister Ngubane also addressed a high-level conference at the Centre for Superior Sciences and Technology on forging partnerships between Africa and the developed world on science and technology cooperation in a NEPAD context. On the occasion Minister Ngubane was awarded an honorary professorship by the Rector of the Centre, Mr. Fernando de Salas Lopez for the Centre's course on NEPAD.

The visit to Spain by Minister Ngubane contributed to closer bilateral relations and to a better understanding of developments pertaining to the SADC region and NEPAD.
Issued on behalf of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology by the Department of Foreign Affairs

For more information contact: Andrew Aphane-Ministerial at 082 387 5615.
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001
13 May 2003



Quick Links

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 25 August, 2004 11:01 AM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa