Nuclear technology has much to contribute to the social and economic development of Africa, says IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Speaking during an event in Pelindaba to mark the 50th anniversary of South Africa’s SAFARI-1 research reactor, Amano said that Africa as a whole is a very important focus of the work of the IAEA.

"As the most advanced user of nuclear technology on this continent, South Africa can take pride in sharing its expertise with its neighbours," Amano said.

"I encourage all African countries to continue to make their voice heard, loud and clear, in reinforcing international appreciation of the great benefits of this remarkable technology."

Amano touched on some of the IAEA’s work in Africa, including its rapid response to provide equipment, laboratory supplies and technical advice following the Ebola outbreak and its work to treat animal diseases, fight pests and increase agricultural productivity in the region.

He also spoke of the role nuclear power can play in developing countries. "Many countries see nuclear power as a stable and clean source of energy that can help to mitigate the impact of climate change," Amano said. South Africa plans to expand its nuclear power programme in the coming years, while also investing in other areas such as renewables.

Amano said that supporting Africa is a "high priority" for the IAEA. "We are working closely with countries interested in nuclear power to help them build the necessary expertise," he said.