South Africa, October 28, 2014: Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Science and Technology has urged the African continent to move away from being just a ‘client’ of accessing scientific information and stimulate an African dialogue on the use of space technology for development.
Speaking at the opening of the tenth African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment conference, in Johannesburg, the Minister also noted that while Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries still dominated the space economy, it was time that BRICS and African countries caught up. “The BRICS countries have invested substantially in recent years. India, China and Russia are now leading contributors to the space economy. Now it's Africa's turn. We have to talk about space, coordinate our activities and invest for the future,” she said.
However, she also added that to achieve this, the African governments and relevant institutions would have to increase investment in and awareness of the use of space in decision-making processes. “It is crucial that senior leadership at all levels of government receive appropriate exposure to space technology, especially remote sensing and its input to geoscience,” Inggs said.
She also informed the gathering that an African Space Policy and Strategy was being developed by the African Union Commission through the African Ministers Committee on Science and Technology, and continental initiatives such as the Pan African University for Space Science and Technology and AfriGEOSS had been established aimed at establishing a coordinated GEO system.