AU Calls for Enhanced Intervention, Adequate Investment in Space Industry

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ENA December  2/2019 The African space science industry needs government intervention and adequate investment as space infrastructures are becoming more evident in alleviating long-term and significant challenges in the continent, according to the African Union Commission.

Addressing the 8th African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable that opened today, Human Resources, Science and Technology Director Mahama Ouedraogo said adequate facilities and skilled human resource base that enable the development of viable space programs are lacking in most African countries.

“We have seen how space programs have suffered from the absence of a coordinated approach that would yield outputs in terms of know-how, resource and management,” he pointed out.

The director stated that Africa has multifaceted development challenges which are interlinked and transcend national boundaries.

“The very pillars of the continent’s economic fabric, including agriculture, water and natural resources, energy, the blue economy and digital infrastructure are the heart of Africa’s development challenges as stipulated in Agenda 2063,” Ouedraogo said.

According to the director, national space programs have to receive significant amount of finance and investment with clear governance programs and structures that ensure competitiveness of the continent internationally.

Yet Africa has been suffering from the absence of coordinated approach and lack of political willingness from the countries, though the rest of the world has been offering a more promising trajectory in space science and technology, Ouedraogo underscored.

Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute Director-General, Solomon Belay said African space development has been facing many challenges, including lack of awareness, shortage of space policy and strategy as well as political commitment of leaders.

Solomon noted that Ethiopia has been harnessing space development in its far-reaching reforms, adding that the country is committed to collaborate with Africans and international and space agencies for mutual benefits.

It is to be recalled that the 23rd Ordinary Session of African Union Heads of State and Government Summit held in June 2014 adopted a 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024).

The strategy is part of the long-term people centered AU Agenda 2063, which is underpinned by science, technology and innovation as multi-function tools and enablers for achieving continental development goals.