Government is working towards harnessing space technology for development – Bawumia

Government will soon pass the Ghana Space Policy to harness space technology for socio-economic development.

The policy will support efforts by the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute to explore the space industry for accelerated national growth.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia announced this on Friday in Accra at the closing ceremony of the United Nations’ Fifth International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management.

The three-day conference brought together more than 100 participants from 87 countries worldwide, including scientists, researchers and policy analysts to network and strategise on how to use space technology to enhance development.

It was also to strengthen the use of those technologies to safeguard and monitor water resources and preserve it for future generations.

The conference was jointly organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, in collaboration with the Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz International Prize for Water and four other ministries.

Vice President Bawumia said space science and technology application offered lots of opportunities and benefits and, therefore, Ghana could not afford to ignore those potentials for economic growth.

“We have a strategic and economic interest to invest in our space capabilities,” he said.

“Space applications are essential tools for our security, environmental monitoring, communication, disaster prevention and risk reduction.”

Space technology could also help Ghana manage her natural resources, provide early warning for agriculture and food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, job creation, space services, transportation and health services.

Ghana has initiated several programmes and activities in space science, starting with the signing of the African Square Kilometre Array (SKA) partnership bid agreement, led by South Africa, involving nine African countries in 2007.

This agreement led to the establishment of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory, commissioned in 2017, as part of the African Very Long Baseline Interferometer Network being implemented by the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, the Vice President said.

Also, the University of Energy and Natural Resources, by the Earth Observation and Research Innovation Centre, is mapping fires across Africa, identifying water bodies and areas of possible drought, and predicting the weather along the middle belt.

Dr Bawumia said the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration, as part of the use of space technology in Ghana, had increased the number of television channels and available options for the viewer.

That had offered viewers better picture quality, clearer sound, new services, and more interactivity and data services including electronic programme guide, he noted.

The Government, under its digitisation agenda, had rolled out programmes like the Ghana Card, mobile money interoperability, paperless port system, e-folder, e-birth and death register, digital address system, Covid-19 tracker app, e-Travel Card or e-Passport, e-Pharmacy and to improve service delivery and accountability, the Vice President said.

“We can all attest to the prevailing technologies and services available to us from the development and onward on boarding of space technologies for national development.”

Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, in his welcome remarks, said the Ghana Space Bill was before Cabinet and believed its passage into law would ensure a meaningful utilisation of the space industry.

Source: GNA

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