Africa, with a population of over 1.2 billion based on the United Nations’ estimates, is 16.6 per cent of the world’s population. It is thus the second largest and second most populous continent on the earth. Space science and technology could, therefore, be made to contribute significantly to the reduction of poverty and enhance her prosperity especially through communication satellite development.
Delivering an opening remarks at the seventh African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology with the theme ‘Implementing African Space Policy and Strategy (ASPS)’ convened by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), in Abuja, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu stressed that space science has an increasing role in Africa’s development paradigm in the areas of satellite development, space launches, exchange of data, development of space and ground segment facilities, and negotiation for relevant Know How Technology Transfer (KHTT).
He averred that Africa as a continent could achieve more than individual nations could achieve on their own given the level of development and resources at the disposal of each member nation, even as he urged participants to come up with robust, quality deliberations and sound recommendations that could lead to the quickest implementation of the ASPS for its collective benefits.
In his remarks, the chairman of African Leadership Conference (ALC), Prof. Zalam Maga, said it was time for all the African nations to come together for the development of space science and technology for the overall benefit of the continent considering the fact that everything in the global community in terms of developmental programmes revolves around application of space science and technology.
“If the entire African countries can come together to harness space resources, it will go a long way to fast track development in the continent as well as open a new chapter for unity among the various countries in the continent,” he stated.
He lauded Nigeria for its pioneering efforts in the area of space science and technology, describing Nigeria’s activities as an encouragement for other African countries.
Earlier, the chairman senate committee on science and technology, Sen. Ajayi Boroffice, said the theme of the conference with focus on the progress of various African space programmes and their culminating effects on African united front in space science and technology was apt and came at a better time, even as he urged delegates to judiciously utilize the platform for critical and robust discussions that would engender positive impacts and narratives to promote space programmes and spur the region in her quest towards the development of space science and technology for the overall benefits of its people.
In his address, the director-general of the NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed highlighted the conspicuous progress made in the application of space science and technology in Africa, especially in the areas of remote sensing, disaster management, security, telemedicine and tele education, navigation, maritime, agriculture and so on.