Britain and South Africa have agreed to strengthen their health partnership to help prevent future pandemics.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who visited the Francis Crick Institute of Biomedical Research facility signed the agreement on Wednesday in London.
As part of the agreement, British and South African institutions will collaborate on nine research projects on health issues.
Such issues include health systems, mental health, surgery and HIV, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Britain has announced new funding to support genomic sequencing by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
The new funding aims to accelerate the detection of dangerous diseases across Africa.
The partnership will also prioritise building vaccine manufacturing on the continent as the two countries are also tackling climate change.
This is with Britain contributing funding to the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with South Africa to help it decarbonise its economy.
Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said the UK and South Africa had shown global leadership in partnering by preventing the spread of dangerous diseases.
“By working to halt climate change, including through the ground-breaking JETP, we help countries avoid using fossil fuels.”
Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, said that strengthening partnerships between the two countries is crucial in improving health and patient outcomes.
But it is also vital to add to the global resilience of our health systems.
“Through this partnership, we will reinforce our shared commitment to ensuring the world is better prepared for future pandemics.
“This, we will ensure through joint research and building capability for disease surveillance, including antimicrobial resistance,” Barclay said.
Ramaphosa also visited Kew’s Royal Botanical Gardens, which has a longstanding seed-banking collaboration with South African institutions to help preserve the nation’s rich plant diversity.
Environment Secretary, Therese Coffey accompanied the South African president to the gardens with the Earl of Wessex.
Coffey said that this visit highlights the fantastic biodiversity of South Africa and our longstanding scientific collaboration to protect nature.
However, ministers discussed the importance of UN talks on halting biodiversity loss, coming up in December in Montreal, Canada.
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