Photo: MASE - Sudafrica

South Africa occupies the southern part of the African continent and is bathed by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Its territory is largely characterized by the central plateau, which has various altitudes depending on the area. The highest peaks of the country are found in the Dragon Mountains, in particular near Lesotho, starting from Mafadi, (3,450 m.), and Njesuthi, (3,408 m.), while the coastal strip is mostly rather narrow.

Given the extension of the territory and the mountains’ arrangement, South Africa presents various climatic situations: subtropical, in the eastern part of the plateau, semi-arid in the western part, arid desert in the western part of the country, east of the Atlantic, where it rarely rains, subtropical and Mediterranean in the south-western coastal strip and, finally, oceanic along the rest of the Indian Ocean coastline.

The country's economy is centered on the exploitation of the mineral resources of the rich subsoil, (diamonds, gold, coal), which has mainly benefited a minority of the population. The racial segregation against blacks, which, with the apartheid policy, marked South Africa until 1992, has produced enormous social and economic inequalities that still exist today. With the end of apartheid, an intense phenomenon of urbanization involved very poor masses, mostly belonging to the black majority of the South African population, who poured into the suburbs of the big cities, creating extensive urban agglomerations and strongly modifying the distribution of inhabitants, (Johannesburg - with 2,026 ,000 inhabitants and 14,586,000 considering the urban agglomeration, or Cape Town with 3,433,000 inhabitants and 4,448,000 considering the urban agglomeration, or Durban - 3,120,000 inhabitants with an urban agglomeration of 3,318,000 inhabitants). These large concentrations of sheet metal houses or shacks and accommodation built with makeshift materials are in precarious hygienic and sanitary conditions and are highly exposed to extreme phenomena, such as floods and droughts, which are made more frequent and intense by Climate Change.

In 2016, MASE signed an Agreement with the South African Department of Water and Sanitation regarding the integrated management of water resources and to increase the country's resilience to climate change.

    Memorandum of Understanding (Johannesburg, October 2016 – October 2021)

Counterpart: Department of Water and Sanitation of the Republic of South Africa
Allocation: -
Intervention areas:

  • Strengthen and coordinate adaptation and mitigation efforts;
  • Promote sustainability and efficiency in the management of water resources;
  • Reduce climate change vulnerability through an integrated and sustainable water management;
  • Facilitate cooperation, at sub-national and regional level, for research, education, development, innovation activities in the field of water resources management, water services, sanitation technologies at rural level, especially in remote areas and, where possible, strengthening the nexus between water - energy - food.
- Memorandum of Understanding Italy - South Africa (October 18, 2016, EN, IT
- South Africa Work Plan (October 21, 2016, EN)


    Scientific cooperation

Memorandum of Understanding for the financing of the implementation of bilateral projects in the framework of the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Executive Program between Italy and South Africa for the period 2018-2020

  Project: "Anton Dohrn" zoological station in Naples

Project Results



    11/04/2019   Visit to Italy of the South African delegation and Third meeting of the Joint Committee in Rome
    04/07/2017   Second meeting of the Joint Committee in Johannesburg
    21/10/2016   First meeting of the Joint Committee in South Africa: water first



Ultimo aggiornamento 12.06.2023