i initiative

Space and Development…Increasing Access to Space in Africa

Where Should Our Policy Focus Lie?

Posted by Simon Adebola on July 20, 2008

A look at the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives a view into the critical need that exists in Africa to rise to the challenge of combating the effect of global warming and climate change. There is no better tool to prepare African nations for this task than Space Science and Technology (SST). We have an urgent need of concise decision support capabilities provided by SST-enabled Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to develop effective policy and management mechanisms for handling these challenges.

We also need to utilize SST in evolving novel ways of coping with changes in resource distribution, scarcities and their accompanying implications for nutrition and health. There is also the challenge of harnessing the alternative sources of energy available in Africa in order to conserve the depleting ecosystems and revert the effects of environmental degradation, deforestation and desert encroachment. SST has the potential to assist in accomplishing these tasks in an efficient and cost effective manner. The need to close the digital divide to foster education and technological development to adequately reposition Africa for development is also largely dependent on SST and access to space.

Focus and a commitment to holistic development in the spirit of collaboration would greatly enhance our success in pursuing SST as a tool for development. Thus education and manpower development should be considered a priority and maximum advantage should be taken of the renewed global interest in Africa to jumpstart our developmental pursuits.

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