Algeria and South Africa launch joint science programme

Published online 4 August 2011

Toufik Bougaada

Algeria and South Africa have agreed to provide US$2 million to collaborative research projects involving the two countries.

The agreement, signed on 26 July in Bou Ismail, Algeria, will run from 2012 to 2015 and is a result of discussions that started in 2003, said Hafid Aourag, director general of scientific research and technological development in Algeria. "Our main aim is to build on both countries' financial and human resources to enrich research on the ground."

"The fund will support projects from a range of research subjects including biotechnology, water resources, healthcare, information technology and energy," said Valanthan Munsami, deputy director-general of research, development and innovation at South Africa's department of science and technology.

The South African envoy also discussed further projects with the Algerian science ministry involving space exploration and peaceful use of nuclear energy, but no details of funding for these were provided. Aourag adds that the agreement will also involve student and faculty exchanges between universities in the two countries. "We will do this through short-term exchange programs focusing on knowledge and technology transfer."

Algeria has been pursuing several projects to promote scientific research since 2010. "This partnership will allow Algeria to benefit from South Africa's experience in several science branches, especially pharmaceuticals, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and renewable energy," said Mokhtar Sellami, director of research programming and prospective studies at the Algerian ministry of higher education and scientific research,.

Algeria has recently launched joint research programmes with Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. In 2012, Algeria also plans to found a university focusing on seismology in partnership with Japan.