Stationed at the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa’s Gauteng province, the Space Operations Offices of South African National Space Agency (SANSA), provided the venue for the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the NEPAD Agency on 19 April.
During the MoU signing, the importance of Africa as a continent to find and implement its own solutions to address its challenges was stressed. The MoU that the two institutions signed is an important step that signals the new focus for Africa that is emerging, one that places confidence in African institutions and capacity to find solutions to the continent’s challenges.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency commended the collaboration between the two institutions stating that, “Gaps in policy-making and implementation can, from now on, be filled will real time data and evidence from Africa itself.”
South Africa plays a central role in the international space community with an established reputation for accuracy and reliability, of which SANSA is using the benefits of space science and technology to help grow and develop the African region.
“The South African National Space Agency is revisiting its strategic position in leading innovations for space solutions, not only for South Africa, but for the rest of the continent to enable us to make informed decisions,” Dr Val Munsami, SANSA’s CEO remarked.
Dr Munsami also reiterated that Africa is starting to look inward for its own solutions, and added that the MoU signed with the NEPAD Agency will go a long way in redressing challenges in various sectors including agriculture, food security and disaster management.
Other areas of collaboration between SANSA and the NEPAD Agency include: Integrated water resources management; sustainable forestry management; infrastructure; geospatial visualisation and web mapping services, as well as capacity building and knowledge transfer.
The satellite based remote sensing products and services provided by SANSA will play a fundamental role in aiding spatial decision support systems that are required for the implementation of NEPAD’s 2025 Vision on the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all. The products and services will also play a key role in NEPAD’s Action Plan for the Environment Initiative and the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative.
“The achievement of Agenda 2063 requires innovative partnerships that enhance evidence based planning and implementation for real transformation on the continent,” Dr Mayaki said.
The space-based solutions will also enable the NEPAD Agency to support the African Union in the monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals, which are aligned with the implementation of the first ten year plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.