On Friday 19 August 2011, AIMS was visited by the Deputy Minister of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Helge Braun, and his colleagues Mrs Susanne Madders, Head of the Africa Department in the German Ministry of Education and Research Mrs Maja Clausen, Head of the Department for Research, Science and Technology at the German Embassy in Pretoria and his personal assistant Mrs Sandra Röttgen. They were welcomed by Prof Fritz Hahne and met with students, tutors and researchers.
Dr Braun is on an official visit to South Africa where he has met with high-level government officials, completed site visits to research and health facilities, as well as tours of NGO projects in the cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. His visit has strongly focused on the health sector, and the research facilities and initiatives that support it. He travelled to South Africa to illustrate and promote areas of established collaboration as well as highlight those to be encouraged and further enhanced. Dr Braun had this to say: ” I am very happy to be here, it is the first time that I have visited South Africa and it is a very impressive country. Germany is working on a strategy to internationalise education and research. After World War 2, Germany had good development as it had the right economic strategy and it invested a lot in new products like machines and cars. However going forward we need very good research. We need to make more contacts on international levels.”
He noted that Africa is very important and that he would be making a stop in Senegal as well, where he will visit the new AIMS Centre. “It is very important that we create partnerships for many topics.” As a medical doctor Dr Braun is interested in disease research but he also noted that another area of partnership could be in solar energy. To this end Germany has decided to make 2012 a special year, “The German South African Year of Science”. This will give both countries the opportunity to show what they are doing and for various research institutes to present themselves.
AIMS offers a number of scholarships which are funded by DAAD, the German Academic Exchange service, and is currently hosting a visiting researcher and former DAAD Scholarship recipient Dr Maurice Odour from Kenya.