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23.04.2008 South Africa

Ghana-South Africa Conference On Biotechnology Begins

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The First Joint Ghana-South Africa Biennial Conference on Biotechnology and Materials Technology began yesterday in Accra to promote the two technologies for sustainable development.
The joint promotion agenda is in fulfillment of agreements under the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) signed by both countries in November 2004 to promote science and technology.
Over 50 scientists, academics and policy makers are attending the three-day conference which would also foster the establishment of joint collaborative research and development projects.
Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, stated that in May 2007, Ghanaian and South African officials met in Pretoria, South Africa, and identified key scientific areas to pursue jointly. He mentioned the key areas as medical supplies, agricultural research, radiation processing of food, mosquito repellent technologies, bio-fuels, nutrition studies and meteorology.
The Deputy Minister said biotechnology's development presented new applications in agriculture, health and environmental management, which could help reduce poverty to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 'Sub-Saharan African countries must therefore assimilate and adapt the well-tried technologies required to diversify their productive structures,
while upgrading their ability to compete effectively with the international market,' he said.
Dr Brempong-Yeboah called on participants to adopt relevant resolutions to move Ghana and South Africa forward in socio-economic development.
Mr Rapu Molekane, South African High Commissioner, said agro-processing was key to unlock Ghana's economic development, hence the need for South Africa to share its technical information for mutual benefit.  He said co-operation between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1994 had deepened, saying that Ghana was currently South Africa's second largest partner in the region.
Mr Molenke said the JCPP had also yielded positive results, especially between the Ghana Armed Forces and South African Defence Force and expressed the hope that the conference would further consolidate the partnership between both countries.
The conference under the theme: 'Harnessing Technologies for Food Security and Material Development' is being organised by the Institute of Industrial Research of Ghana, the Biotechnology and Nuclear Research Institute of Ghana and the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa.

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