In addition to its tourism, trade and political relationship with the UAE, South Africa wants to expand its higher education programmes internationally and has set its sights on the Gulf region.University of KwaZulu -Natal (UKZN) officials were recently in Dubai to explore the possibility of offering programmes in engineering, medicine, health sciences, agriculture, food security, renewable energy and nuclear energy among others.Companies, alumni and donors in the UAE were present to hear about the latest developments at the institution.
In an interview with Gulf News, South African ambassador to the UAE Yacoob Abba Omar and UKZN Foundation deputy director Connie Israel said the university also wants to become involved in funding and corporate social responsibility initiatives between the two countries.
Establishing a UKZN alumni chapter in the UAE is a possibility too, they said.
Omar said many higher education agreements have been signed between GCC countries and South African universities and this relationship will become more extensive in the future. "This is very introductory. What we're looking to gauge any interest in UKZN. There is in an interest in academic programmes and the UKZN Foundation, which is a philanthropy trust that seeks investment and strategic projects that would benefit the community and student," said Israel.She said the business community was interested in making contacts with people in South Africa "and we want to bring the university into the picture by offering higher education, training and development, and facilitating partnerships".
Omar said the UAE had already sent police officers to be trained in South Africa, for example.
"At the government level we've had discussions with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and they are looking at areas of cooperation."
Relationships between South Africa and Saudi Arabia and Oman are also deepening.
From / Gulf News