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Tunisia has signed a scientific cooperation deal with China in a bid to promote science development and technology transfer.

The agreement was announced last week (23 October) during a meeting in Tunis between Taieb Hadhri, the Tunisian minister for science and technology and Wu Zhongze, China's vice-minister for science and technology.

The deal paves the way for scientific cooperation between research institutes, scientific societies and technology organisations from each country.


It will encourage the exchange of knowledge and expertise in the areas of desertification, management of arid lands, peaceful use of nuclear energy, sea technologies and new technologies in the textile sector.

At least a quarter of cropland in Tunisia, where the climate is arid to semi-arid, is significantly affected by drought, high temperature and salinity. This puts serious constraints on crop production, as well as having adverse socio-economic impacts.

"As China also suffers from environmental stresses, cooperation on the production of environmental stress-resistant plants using genetic engineering technology will benefit both countries," Khaled Masmoudi, head of the Plant Molecular Genetics Unit at Tunisia's Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax told SciDev.Net.

A joint commission for cooperation will be established to discuss and approve cooperation programmes.


The news of the agreement comes ahead of the summit meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, due to start next week (November 3-5) in Beijing.


On a visit to China last weekend (October 28), Tunisia's minister for public health Ridha Kechrid said he hoped there would be increased cooperation between the two countries in the medical sector in future, including in developing traditional Chinese medicine, reported Xinhua news agency.