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Rwanda and the United States have agreed to strengthen their collaborative ties in science and technology research.

The joint declaration signed last week (12 February) in Kigali will see the two countries share data and expertise in health, agriculture, environment, water and sanitation research.

Claudia McMurray, assistant secretary to the US Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific affairs said that representatives of both governments would meet in September to discuss specific areas of collaboration.

The exact budget for the initiative has not yet been disclosed.

Sources told SciDev.Net that the Institut des Sciences Agronomiques in Rwanda will be involved in developing plans for the agriculture and livestock collaboration programmes. The institute also plans to run specialised courses to train agricultural researchers.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Romain Murenzi, Rwanda's Minister of Science, Technology and Scientific Research, said the declaration was "a manifestation of the willingness of the two countries to collaborate", according to the New Times newspaper.

The agreement stems from a meeting held in Washington DC in December, where government officials from both countries discussed how to improve science in Rwanda, particularly in agriculture and livestock research.