A high-level trade mission to the Indian Ocean resort of Durban is boosting United Kingdom-South African education and training partnerships this week.
Led by trade minister Anthony Nelson, the Department of Trade and Industry-sponsored mission hopes to promote UK expertise to help the enormous redevelopment undertaken by South Africa's government of unity. Mr Nelson said: "South Africa's economy is a giant by African standards - its GNP is about three-fifths of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. But, because of its history, there are large pockets of underdevelopment in urgent need of investment."
South Africa is the UK's 17th largest export market, totalling Pounds 1.8 billion last year and UK investment in the country was about Pounds 10 billion.
Mike Brown, pro-vice chancellor of De Montfort University and chairman of the education and training workshops, said UK universities were needed mainly to train black graduates. "There are many black South Africans who have only very general degrees which do not provide a natural training for business," he said.
The partnerships would not be one way, he said, adding that UK institutions could learn much from South African universities, especially fund-raising techniques.