Ethiopia: Geo-information technologies in various fields have potential to improve the quality of life in Africa, the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) noted, during the 8th conference of AARSE in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Tsehai Woldai, President of AARSE, indicated that earth observation is a key to Africa’s development agenda. He said, “Though earth observation data for environmental assessment have become a reality in recent years, Africa is yet to benefit fully from the advantages that these technologies provide.”
“The sustainable development of our human and institutional capacities in the use of geo- information for environmental and natural resource management and facilitating access to such space-based datasets will provide the necessary impetus for the acceptability of such useful tools by African policymakers.”
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh stressed that sustained African effort for the future will not be possible without a major satellite component. “Nevertheless, Africa remains poorly mapped as only 2.5 percent of the continent is currently mapped compared to Europe 86.9 percent and the ex-Soviet Republics at 100 percent.”
“Remote sensing technologies have particular relevance in much of the developing countries like Ethiopia because of inaccessibility of the terrain and lack of other resources of information and urgency related to human welfare and environment,” said Mohamouda Ahmed Gaas, State Minister of Ethiopian Science and Technology.
“However, to leverage the potential of earth observation we do need readily available skilled manpower and an enabling infrastructure,” he added.
The minister also appreciated the evolution of the concept of an African Resource Management Satellite (ARMS) constellation initiative that includes Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.
“It is a very encouraging development which Africa should capitalise on and strengthen within the framework of its own space science and technology agenda,” he said.