14 April 2005
A world-class veterinary and environmental research centre serving the southern African region is being established in Limpopo province.
The Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity Research and Information will eventually serve the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC), and forms part of efforts to create a SADC Free Trade Area by 2008 and a Customs Union by 2012.
“There are challenges we have to deal with in the SADC like malaria, foot and mouth, TB, HIV/Aids and other diseases that restrain trade, economic development and growth”, said Limpopo Education MEC Joyce Mashamba.
“This will boost trade exchanges from member states, increase competitiveness of our products, and result in increased movement of people and animals across the border.”
The centre, which will operate from the existing Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station near the Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate, was established through a partnership between the provincial government and the Peace Parks Foundation.
The foundation, which facilitates the establishment of transfrontier conservation areas, invested an initial R5-million to upgrade the existing research station, and sourced additional funding from foreign donors.
The centre will provide research assistance in fields such as wildlife, taxonomy, ethno-botany and ecology, and provide employment for the local community.