Extraordinary meeting – Promoting European African scientific partnerships: the case of radio astronomy

CORDIS The European Parliament Delegation for relations with South Africa is holding an extraordinary meeting chaired by Michael Cashman, MEP and Chair of the South Africa Delegation, with Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister for Science and Technology of South Africa.

Promoting scientific cooperation between the EU and Africa is a key objective of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted at the 2010 Africa-EU Summit. Minister Pandor will address the unique opportunities that radio astronomy presents for mutually beneficial EU-Africa scientific cooperation and how this cooperation can also contribute to socioeconomic development in Africa, building the continent’s research and innovation capacities.

Other speakers include:
• Dr Bernie Fanaroff, Director of South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array Project Office “Building on what is there: Existing portfolio of African radio astronomy initiatives”
• Dr Cheikh Diarra, Chairman of Microsoft Africa “Science with Africa: driver for growth, competitiveness and innovation – industry perspective”, tbc
• Prof George Miley, Vice President of the International Astronomical Union “Africa – a privileged astronomy partner for Europe”

More information and registration: http://www.astroafricaeu.com/event.php?id=10

Remarks :

Promoting scientific cooperation between the EU and Africa is a key objective stated in the 8th EU-Africa Strategic partnership. Specifically, the science of radio astronomy is increasingly recognised as an essential area for further cooperation and has great potential to become a powerful driver of socioeconomic growth in Africa.

Southern Africa hosts some of the world’s most exciting astronomy facilities, including the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the Gamma Ray telescope HESS in Namibia and the Astronomy Development Office of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Now South Africa is building one of the world’s largest radio telescope arrays, MeerKAT, which is already in great demand by the international astronomy community. South Africa with other eight African countries (Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique) is also a candidate site to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s biggest radio telescope. Expected to be operational by 2025, SKA will be a revolutionary radio telescope that will allow scientists to address many of the fundamental, unanswered questions about the universe we live in.

EU involvement and support in the development of large scale radio astronomy facilities in Africa can become a powerful driver of socioeconomic growth in the region, in particular by facilitating an unprecedented investment in African infrastructure, such as ICT, wireless communication, sensor technology, renewable energy, etc. It will create important opportunities for scientists and industry allowing companies on both continents to develop new products and expand on new markets. Overall, European involvement in African radio astronomy can enhance scientific collaboration with this rapidly growing continent, and significantly contribute to attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

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