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South Africa is a particularly important cooperation partner for Germany in Sub-Saharan Africa. The German-South African Binational Commission provides the framework for bilateral cooperation. It was established in 1996 and meets every two years.
An Agreement on Scientific and Technological (S&T) Cooperation was signed in 1996 between the German Federal Research Ministry and the South African Department of Science & Technology (DST). S&T cooperation between South Africa and Germany has developed very successfully on this basis. The S&T Agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee and promotes cooperation, for example regarding the implementation of joint research projects, the use of scientific and technological facilities, exchanges of information and joint events as well as the exchange and assignment of experts. The Federal Research Ministry supports projects mainly in the areas of environment, sustainability and health in which numerous South African researchers and institutions are involved.
German-South African Year of Science
South Africa's special role in bilateral cooperation was also reflected in the joint Science Year 2012/2013. The Humboldt Foundation initiated the Neville Alexander Memorial Fund with funding from the Federal Research Ministry as part of the German-South African Year of Science. This special initiative honours Professor Neville Alexander, a researcher and political associate of Nelson Mandela, whose research stays were funded by the Humboldt Foundation.