Senior figures from the South African government have visited Plymouth University as part of efforts to transform the country’s blue economy.
Oled Mlaba, South Africa’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, led a visit exploring how the South West could potentially work with the country in areas such as aquaculture, shipping, offshore resources and marine renewable energy.
He was joined by officials from the South African Department of Agriculture and Department of Transport, as well as leaders from the fields of maritime and media, academia and commerce.
During a day of events, they learned about the University’s maritime heritage and expertise, as well as academic courses and world-leading research in the field.
They met academics from the Faculty of Business at Mast House, home to the University’s Graduate School of Management and the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, and spoke to managers of the Marine Innovation Centre (MARIC).
Some members of the delegation also visited one of Plymouth’s partner colleges, Bridgwater College, to learn about its work in aquaculture, before rejoining the main party for a reception attended by the University’s Executive Group.
Professor Nikolaos Tzokas, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business at Plymouth University, said:
'The South West has a rich tradition of maritime discovery, and this visit provided us with an opportunity to explore potential collaborations and establish new relationships. It gave us the chance to showcase our capability in delivering a wide range of education and research activities which could be useful in South Africa in the coming years. It also demonstrated our desire to develop more mutually beneficial partnerships, both in maritime and across higher education, and our work to engage with the local business sector now and in the future.'
Professor Jingjing Xu, Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Business, added:
'We are excited the delegation chose to visit Plymouth in their efforts to develop and promote the blue economy in their country. We hope our meetings provided a good foundation for identifying collaboration opportunities and we are very much looking forward to consolidating and continuously strengthening any potential partnerships.'