Together with the daily newspaper Il Sole24Ore and the University of Johannesburg, the Italian Embassy in South Africa has recently organised a conference on cooperation between Italy and South Africa in the field of applied scientific research. The event, which took place on the University’s campus in hybrid mode (over 6,000 viewers watched online), was attended by 26 academics, scientists and representatives of companies in the fields of urban regeneration, artificial intelligence and big data, biotechnology, renewable sources and radio astronomy and aerospace.
“Italy and South Africa,” said Italian Ambassador Paolo Cuculi, “share an intense, fruitful collaboration in highly innovative and high-tech areas, which are crucial for economic growth and sustainable development, also thanks to numerous agreements between universities and research institutes in the two countries, the work of more than 120 Italian researchers working in South Africa, and the Executive Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which has been renewed for the next three years.”
“Among the most important initiatives,” continued the Ambassador, “are the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, which will be built in South Africa with Italy as one of the main international partners (with funding of EUR 120 million over 10 years), and the Memorandum of Understanding on Artificial Intelligence signed by the International Foundation Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Bologna and the South African National Integrated Cyber Infrastructure Initiative.”
“Also thanks to scientific and technological cooperation,” he added, “Italian exports to South Africa reached the record figure of over EUR 2.3 billion in 2022. The issues on the agenda, and in particular urban regeneration, are fundamental for the future of our societies, and characterise the candidacy of the city of Rome to host EXPO 2030.”
Among the speakers at the conference were Enel Green Power Country Manager Manuele Battisti, Research Director of the INAF Astrophysical Observatory in Catania Grazia Maria Umana, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg Letlhokwa Mpedi.