Pretoria: Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has signed a bilateral agreement with the Governor of Puglia Region in Italy, Nichi Vendola.
The agreement covers cooperation between the two provinces in areas of tertiary education, land and water management as well as agriculture, nature conservation, health and education.
The agreement was signed on Monday during Premier Mabuza’s visit to Italy.
Premier Mabuza said the two provinces would soon set up a joint committee that will facilitate and coordinate the areas of cooperation so that the agreement becomes a living document.
He said Mpumalanga would be sending students to study medicine in Puglia, Italy.
“We have a shortage of doctors in our hospitals and I have no doubt that Puglia which produces around 350 doctors per year can send some of their doctors to come and assist us in our hospitals,” he said.
Governor Vendola said his province of Puglia was ready to help Mpumalanga with issues of water management and environmental protection.
“We hope Mpumalanga will not make the same mistakes that we made in Italy in the past by focusing too much on development and ignoring nature conservation.
“We think you and your province can learn a lot from us in water management and nature conservation especially because we have no rivers running through some parts our province yet we have learnt how to conserve water,” Governor Vendola said.
Mpumalanga Premier’s office spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said the MEC for Agriculture Rural Development Land and Environmental Affairs Andries Gamede also signed an agreement with the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM).
“This agreement will lead to cooperation between Mpumalanga Province Department of Agriculture and the Centre in the areas of food security, rural development and agriculture in general,” Mncwango said.
Mpumalanga will be sending graduate students to do their Masters Degrees in scientific research on agriculture.
“We are impressed with the work of the Centre especially in areas of education, technical training, scientific research, food security women and rural development.
“These issues resonate with our needs and challenges that we are facing as a young democracy,” Premier Mabuza said.
SOURCE: South African Official News