The KAT-7 telescope at the site of the future SKA telescope in South Africa: Photo credit SKA Africa


Vice-Chancellor attends tenth UK-South Africa bilateral forum

Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith joined a delegation to South Africa led by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, which included Universities minister David Willetts.

The delegation was there for the tenth UK-South Africa bilateral forum, which focussed on developing the bilateral relationship across the board, but particularly on youth empowerment and employment.

The bilateral forum is held every two years and this year it reviewed progress on the UK and South Africa strategy to 2015 and looked ahead to further collaboration on a broad range of areas at the national, regional and international level beyond the next two years.

The Forum was co-chaired by Mr Hague and by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and took place in Cape Town.

Sir Steve attended the Forum and also visited the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope site in the Karoo. Located in South Africa and Australia, when complete the SKA will be the world's largest radio telescope. The UK is a major player in the project. Sir Steve also met the Vice-Chancellors of leading South African universities and the Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training Mr Mduduzi Manana, in addition to visiting the Cape Academy Secondary School.

The United Kingdom is an important trade and investment partner for South Africa. It is also a significant source of long-haul tourists from Europe with close to 440,000 British tourists visiting South Africa in 2012. It is a priority for South Africa to maintain the current level of economic relations and to continue attracting investment in niche areas.

The bilateral forum also saw the launch of the South Africa-United Kingdom Business Council which aims to increase bilateral business-to-business links.

Date: 13 September 2013

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