AFRA, or the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, celebrates 25 years of cooperation with the IAEA this year. AFRA, an intergovernmental agreement which seeks to maximize the utilization of available infrastructure and expertise in Africa in the field of nuclear science and technology, entered into force on 4 April 1990.
Events to mark the 25th anniversary will kick off at AFRA's 25th Technical Working Group Meeting (TWGM), hosted by the Government of Lesotho from 19 to 23 May 2014 in Maseru. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of National Liaison Officers and AFRA National Coordinators. National representatives from IAEA Member States in the region will also attend the meeting.
The meeting launches a year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of AFRA, and will feature an exhibition of AFRA's achievements as well as a day-long seminar on the contribution of the IAEA technical cooperation (TC) programme to socioeconomic development in the African region. Focus discussions will also be held on the contribution of the TC programme to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
AFRA's 25th anniversary celebrations will culminate in September 2014 with an exhibition and a panel discussion, taking place on the margins of the 58thAnnual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference.
AFRA stems from an initiative of IAEA Member States in the Africa region who in 1988 requested the IAEA to help them to establish a regional arrangement for cooperation in the field of nuclear science and technology, similar to arrangements already existing in Asia and Latin America. It took almost two years to complete all consultations with African Member States and, in February 1990, the Board of Governors of the IAEA approved the establishment of AFRA. In 2013, AFRA States Parties approved a five-year Regional Strategic Cooperative Framework (2014-2018) which defines AFRA's sectoral priorities and guides the formulation of AFRA's cooperative activities.
AFRA aims to maximize the utilization of available infrastructure and expertise in Africa in the field of nuclear science and technology and to accelerate regional self-sufficiency in the peaceful applications of nuclear techniques, by establishing necessary infrastructure, coordinating intellectual and physical resources and disseminating innovative methods and practices cost-efficiently. Using a cooperative approach, AFRA seeks to enlarge the contribution of nuclear science and technology to social welfare, health and education throughout Africa, using Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC).
The AFRA mission is "…to develop capacity, establish and facilitate, through regional cooperation, the use of infrastructure to exploit relevant nuclear techniques safely and cost effectively in order to meet the challenges of sustained communal socio-economic development on the African continent".
The current membership of AFRA totals 39 countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.