Saturday, June 15, 2024

Africa: Africa Boosting Space Technology to Help Farming, Economy, Environment

Over 300 participants met in Côte d’Ivoire this week for the second edition of the NewSpace Africa conference. The event explores ways in which space can help boost local economies, fight climate change and improve agricultural technologies.

The second edition of NewSpace Africa gathered three times more participants than the first conference, in 2022 in Kenya. The event is organised by the African Union Commission and Space in Africa.

With some 50 satellites manufactured by 13 African states and a sector valued at nearly 20 million dollars in 2021, Africa’s space industry is growing steadily.

African states are increasingly recognising the importance of space exploration and technology. The African Space Policy and Strategy, launched by the African Union, is a framework guiding Africa’s space sector by providing a coordinated approach.

The newly formed African Space Agency (AfSA), headquartered in Cairo, intends to be the platform for space research on the continent, as well as being the focal point of Africa’s collaboration with Europe and other non-African partners.

“The African Space Agency will facilitate the advancement of technology in all member states,” said Dr Tidiane Ouattara, the African Union Commission Space Science Expert, GMES and Africa programme coordinator.

“It also aims to bring together countries with less advanced space programs.”

Gabon’s space experience

Gabon launched its space programme in 2015 in response to the challenges of climate change. With 88 per cent of the country covered by forests, the Gabonese Agency for Space Studies and Observation (AGEOS) proved essential in the collection of data on its forests, biodiversity and carbon emissions.