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[BUENOS AIRES] In just one week, Argentina has signed agreements for science and technology with Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Libya and Tunisia.

The commitment with Germany was reached during an ArgentineanGerman science and technology 'cooperation week' held in Buenos Aires (from 13 November), while the agreements with the African countries were signed during a trip to the continent led by president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Argentina and Germany will together finance 26 research projects in fields such as biotechnology, medical sciences and environmental research.

A branch of the Max Planck Institute will be created in the Scientific Pole a research park to be built in Buenos Aires. With Africa, the agreements build on existing exchanges in the field of nuclear power.

Argentina will export low power nuclear reactors to Algeria and Egypt for use in medicine; cooperate with Tunisia on nuclear technologies; and hold a nuclear energy workshop with Egypt in 2009 in Buenos Aires.

Other new agreements include scientific cooperation projects with Algeria on biotechnology; agreements on biotechnology, ICTs, energy and marine sciences with Tunisia; and an intergovernmental scientific and technological agreement with Libya.

"The interesting thing is that we are trying to connect these scientific agreements with trade business," Lino Barañao, Argentinean minister of science, told SciDev.Net.

"Agreements with Africa are not new to Argentina," he says. "We started this year with Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa with the idea of strengthening capacity-building and opening this new market for our agricultural technology."

Argentina now has international agreements with more than 100 countries.