On 13 May 2022, the South Africa Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA) convened in Pretoria a conference entitled Loud and Nuclear: The Peaceful Application of Nuclear Science and Technology in the Development Agenda. The event crowned SAIIA’s ‘Atoms 4 Development Project’, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Presenters and participants at three panel discussions focused their attention on the need to strengthen African nuclear governance to support the peaceful application of nuclear technology for Africa’s development. For this to happen higher levels of nuclear safety and safeguards are necessary prerequisites.
In this vein, the results of the EU – funded ISTC – implemented SADC Project formed a pertinent illustration of the state of the official oversight bodies in the countries of Southern Africa, their compliance with relevant multilateral agreements or the degree of informed civil society engagement in nuclear governance. The event allowed to make a preview of the Regional Report, prepared by the Project’s partners, and to advocate for the recommendations, contained in the Action Plan, adopted by the re-constructed SADC Nuclear Regulators’ Network.
Several of the distinguished panellists that spoke at the conference were partners of ISTC that have contributed to or participated in the implementation of the SADC Project, which is formally known as Project MC 5.01 15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. These partners are: Messaoud Baaliouamer, AFCONE Executive Secretary; Gaopalelwe Santswere, President, African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN); Princess Mthombeni, Communications Leader of the campaign Africa4Nuclear; Pamella Kilavi, Founder, Kenyan Young Generation in Nuclear; and also one of the moderators – Professor Jo-Ansie Van Wyk from the Department of Political Sciences at the University of South Africa. Many of them commended the SADC Project and the collaboration with ISTC.
Participants thanked SAIIA for the interesting and topical presentations and discussions raising key issues for the Africa region. The SAIIA event provided evidence of the strengthened African agency on the use of nuclear science and technology for development, and the widened African norm entrepreneurship and voice in global nuclear forums.