SA, Czech Republic to Collaborate on Science, Tech and Innovation


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The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jiří Kozák, recently visited the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to explore potential areas of collaboration with South Africa.

The Deputy Minister was in South Africa for bilateral political consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

Organised by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Kozák toured the CSIR’s National Centre for Nanostructured Materials and the Cybersecurity Operations Centre this week.

The visit, according to the DSI, laid the foundation for future discussions in science, technology and innovation (STI) between the countries.

“The potential areas of collaboration included food security, academies of science, hydrogen, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, technology transfer, aerospace technologies, and partnering under the Square Kilometre Array mega-science project,” the statement read.

Both the CSIR CEO, Dr Thulani Dlamini, and Kozák expressed their commitment to continue the discussions on these topics.

“A follow-up meeting is planned to concretise the discussions,” the department said.

The department said the relationship between South Africa and the Czech Republic exemplifies the growing significance of science diplomacy.

In a dialogue on science diplomacy, Kozák said the Czech Republic government had established a department on science diplomacy, as international collaboration in research and innovation was a very important task in furthering the country’s unique qualities.

Through joint initiatives, exchange programmes and diplomatic engagements, both nations could leverage scientific cooperation as a vehicle for fostering diplomatic ties and addressing global challenges.

DSI’s Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Resources, Daan du Toit, said science diplomacy enhances mutual understanding and facilitates the exchange of knowledge, expertise and resources, ultimately paving the way for sustainable development and prosperity.

“In this context, the partnership between South Africa and the Czech Republic transcends traditional diplomatic channels, embracing a forward-looking approach that harnesses the transformative power of science and technology for the betterment of society,” said Du Toit.

South Africa and the Czech Republic are expected to sign a bilateral agreement that will enable the establishment of long-term relations in STI and serve as a cornerstone for progress in both countries.

Meanwhile, South Africa will host a delegation of Czech Republic start-ups in November 2024. –

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