The First South Africa/China Hi-Tech Exhibition, being held in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, is intended to promote scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, their research institutes and companies. “I hope that both sides use this platform to enhance their cooperation,” affirmed Chinese Science and Technology Vice Minister Dr Huo Jianguo in his address at the opening of the exhibition on Thursday.
“I’m very pleased this Hi-Tech Exhibition will display products and artefacts from companies from both countries,” stated South African Department of Science and Technology director-general Dr Phil Mjwara. He pointed out that last year the two countries had celebrated 15 years of diplomatic relations, and that the original idea had been to hold a high-tech exhibition then, but that practical difficulties had led to both countries agreeing to hold it this year.
“Over the past 15 years, science and technical [agencies] of both sides have worked together,” highlighted Huo. “They have played an important role in bolstering bilateral cooperation.” This cooperation covered science, technology and advanced manufacturing, in sectors that included aerospace and nuclear.
“In recent years, marked achievements have been made in China/South Africa science and technology cooperation,” added Chinese ambassador to South Africa Tian Xuejuan. “Today, the China/South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership is striding forward. … Our relations are now the best they have been in history.” He added that science and technology cooperation was “a powerful engine” for both countries to achieve their development objectives.
“South Africa is the leader in science and technology in Africa and has world-class technology,” asserted Huo. “The potential is huge.” He proposed that the exchange of scientific and technological personnel between the two countries be increased, and that research institutes in both countries create joint research platforms.
“We hope that this first High-Tech Exhibition … will lay the basis for strengthening existing, and enabling new, partnerships,” stated Mjwara. He cited already-existing partnerships between South African and Chinese universities. He further cited, in particular, cooperation on research into traditional and herbal medicines in both countries.
South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor was unable to attend the opening of the exhibition because she was a member of the South African delegation at the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa summit in India. The exhibition will run from Thursday to Saturday.