The South Africa Department of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Global Development Lab, the newest bureau within USAID, to support the growing partnership between South Africa and the United States in using science, technology and innovation as important tools for advancing development. The signing ceremony was held during the USAID Global Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnership Summit at the USAID/Southern Africa headquarters in Pretoria.
Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding were: Dr. Phil Mjwara, Director-General, South Africa Department of Science and Technology; Cheryl L. Anderson, Mission Director, USAID/Southern Africa; and Ann Mei Chang, USAID Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab.
Dr. Mjwara explained the significance of the signing.
“I’m delighted that our partnership with USAID has reached this critical milestone of formalizing our relationship, which signals not only an intention to cement current gains around scientific research collaboration spanning the southern Africa region, social innovation, technical cooperation, and Human Capital Development, but also to grow the partnership in years to come,” Dr. Mjwara said.
“As DST, we value that our engagements are truly underpinned by a spirit of partnership and wish to see this continue as we deploy STI initiatives, under this MOU, to address our most pressing development challenges and fight poverty,” he added.
Ms. Chang described South Africa as “a leader in advancing the application of science, technology, and innovation.”
“Together with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology, our unique partnership is enabling collaboration and leveraging investments to source and accelerate solutions to the most pressing development challenges in South Africa,” she said.
The U.S. Global Development Lab focuses its assistance on five regions, including Southern Africa, that work in partnership to use science, technology and innovation to address development challenges.
The Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the cooperation between DST and USAID under existing programs and facilitates new partnerships. Ongoing partnerships include Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development, through which South Africa works with USAID, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to support water smart agriculture, and the Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research, which supports South African researchers who are partnered with U.S. researchers in various fields of study.