The SAICE International Panel (SIP) is looking at establishing relations with the BRICS countries, and we are happy to report that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between SAICE and the Institution of Engineers India (IEI) when delegates of both institutions attended the conference of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) in Slovenia in September of this year. Present at the signing ceremony from SAICE were President Dr Martin van Veelen, Vice-President Tom McKune and CEO Manglin Pillay, while the IEI was represented by Messrs SL Garg (President), RP Gupta (Past-President) and Ashok Basa. Both presidents agreed that this was an historic event for both organisations, and expressed the hope that the association would be a long and mutually beneficial one.
The MoU confirms the willingness of the two institutions to work together on international issues whenever deemed appropriate. For SAICE and the IEI, the signing of the MoU also means an exchange of information regarding the engineering profession in general, for example:
The exchange of monthly magazines so that both organisations may establish and maintain depositories of technical monthly magazines.
- The exchange of monthly magazines so that both organisations may establish and maintain depositories of technical monthly magazines.
- The exchange of technical periodicals and other publications.
- The encouragement of joint technical events.
- The exchange of technical personnel (based on the principle of reciprocity, the sending party will bear the expenses involved).
The relationship between SAICE and the IEI in the built environment and engineering institutional context is reflective of, and in alignment with, the political and economic landscape of South Africa's relationships with the BRICS countries. Given the dominant status of India (and China) as rapidly developing nations, the newly-signed agreement has great potential for South Africa, particularly in the light of South Africa’s recently extended invitation to Indian business to invest in the SA government’s infrastructure development programme, which will run until 2014 and is worth more than R800 billion.
The South African and Indian governments have identified a definite need for skills transfer in engineering, computer science, finance, economics and accounting. The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of R111 billion to be reached by 2014.
As a country that has emerged from similar economic and social challenges as South Africa, India has developed and mastered appropriate technology solutions for infrastructure development which can be used to great effect in our own circumstances.
In keeping with the South African government’s initiative to join hands with India in a mutually beneficial relationship, SAICE has taken the lead to partner with our engineering counterparts in India. For SAICE this opens the doors for collaboration with regard to technology, education and training, bookshop expansion, lectures and resource exchange.
Of direct benefit to members of SAICE will be access to publications and technical books that have hitherto not been accessible. SAICE will, among other things, extend the relationship to technical publishers to source books that will be made available to members through the bookshop. Another direct benefit to members will be easier access to participation in conferences and seminars in India to learn first-hand from Indian engineers about developments there. Since the signing of the MoU, SAICE has already been invited to the 27th Indian Engineering Congress to be held in Delhi in December 2012.