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Africa needs cadre of space scientists – Minister

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Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei - Minister, Environment, Science & Technology
Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei – Minister, Environment, Science & Technology

Dr Joseph Oteng-Adjei, the Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, has called for the development of a cadre of African Space Scientists to enable African countries build, deploy and operate space-based systems.

He also called for the building of institutional capacities and legal framework which will provide “African solutions to African challenges”.

Dr Oteng-Adjei stated during the opening of the 5th African Leadership Conference in Accra on the theme: “Building a Shared Vision for Space Science and Technology in Africa”.

He told the participants, mainly scientists and academia, to ensure that space based products are used by African policy makers to plan and manage natural resources.

He said there was the need to use space-based platform for health service delivery, sustainable agriculture development, disaster and emergency management, marine surveillance and pollution control, climate change, deforestation, land degradation and desertification monitoring in Africa.

Dr Oteng-Adjei, said technological advancement and space science had helped in providing solutions to challenges, in transforming approaches to dealing with climate change, food security, emerging disease, disaster management and humanitarian assistance.

“We should build on a shared vision for space science and technology in Africa as we endeavor to develop strategies that will address the continent’s common challenges including population growth, unattainable farming practices, and illegal mining activities facing African countries,” he said.

Dr Oteng-Adjei said Ghana had established bilateral partnership with South Africa and commended South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria for championing the establishment of ALC.

Professor Francis Allotey, accomplished Ghanaian scientist, emphasized need for African countries to venture into space science technology.

He urged African governments to provide enabling environment for space science technological development.

Prof Allotey said Africa had a peculiar problem across board – health, agriculture, education, science; “the need for African Scientists and Engineers to find solutions to these problems through African perspective”.

He urged African scientists to use science and technology to improve agriculture, emerging water problems, develop space science-human resources through constant training and use space science technology to deal with disaster through the provision of early warning messages.

He commended African countries with space science programmes and encouraged the rest to join whilst congratulating African governments who have demonstrated their commitment to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project.

Prof. Collette A. Sudah of Kenya, who represented Prof. Jacob T. Kaimenyi, the ALC Chairperson, said ALC over the years had contributed significantly for the development of Space Science Technology in Africa.

She said challenges should be managed through partnership and recounted efforts for developing African partnership.

She said ALC had made significant progress and tasked Ghana which assumes the chairmanship from December 5th, to build on the tremendous achievements.

Professor Jide Kufonyi, the President of the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE), said there was the need  to increase the awareness of African governments and their institutions, the private sector and the society at large, about the empowering and enhancing benefits of developing, applying and utilizing responsibly, the products and services of Earth Observation Systems and Geo-Information Technology.

Source: GNA

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