- When Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schröder goes on an official visit in Ethiopia on Monday, he is accompanied by German earth scientists that are to intensify the German science cooperation with universities of the Horn of Africa. Water management science is given special weight.
Leaving for Addis Ababa, Chancellor Schröder is accompanied by Professor Brigitta Schütt of the Free University of Berlin and Professor Gerd Förch of the University of Siegen. Both are earth scientists and are to give Mr Schröder and his guests in Addis Ababa a thorough introduction to their project, the "University Cooperation East Africa - Network Watershed Management."
According to the Berlin University, this German-Ethiopian research project in particular investigates relationships between agriculture, irrigation and environmental damage on the Horn of Africa. The German Chancellor is to officially open the four-year project at an Addis Ababa ceremony.
- Water and irrigation management is a factor crucial to survival in the agriculture of the drier parts of the Sahelian zone and determinates political events in the affected countries, states Ms Schütt before taking off to Ethiopia.
This, according to the Berlin scientist, makes it the more important that neighbouring states of the zone cooperate regarding the management and use of local resources in international and regional forums.
In Ethiopia, Me Schütt is to make scientific tests on traditional knowledge related to modern management techniques. She is investigating the causes and effects of soil condensing and erosion and its related consequences for the fresh water resources for the countries of the region.
The Universities of Berlin and Siegen have already been working on this joint project since 2002, doing research in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It has been increasingly important to involve scientists of the affected countries into this research, something that is to be emphasised during Mr Schröder's visit.
Regionally, the two German universities already work together with the Makarere University in Kampala (Uganda), the Tanzanian Sokoinie Universtiy of Agriculture and Dar Es Salaam University, the Kenyatta University of Nairobi (Kenya) and the Arba Minch University of Egypt.
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