Investing in science, research, and innovation could help African governments break the cycle of poverty, and underdevelopment, resource mapping experts meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday have said.
Speaking at the 7th Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development RCMRD, Dr. Mahaman Bachir Saley, Senior Scientific Officer, African Union Commission said Africa has no choice but to initiate education policies and curricular that address our priorities in terms of access, quality and relevance.
“This is what we learn from the developed north. It has meant implementing governance policies that is driven by data and research, investing in the required infrastructure to build science hubs, centers of excellence, laboratories and research facilities. Africa cannot be an exemption,” he said.
Dr Saley noted that space science, whose resources include the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources in Development (RCMRD) has given Africa the ability to look outwards to the stars and beyond.
“It is a strategic asset that can drive innovation and lead to progress and economic development for the continent. In addition, it inspires future generations of scientists and engineers, and drives global information exchange and communication,” he said.
The seventh RCMRD International Conference comes at a time the world is recovering from COVID 19 pandemic.
According to Dr Saley, COVID-19 reechoed the realities that health, well being and resilience of populations depend on endogenous skills and solutions supported by science.
“We have seen massive disruptions caused by the pandemic in education and economic activity. “The ability to respond to future pandemics is determined by the capacity by governments to plan, manufacture essential supplies, role out treatment and share critical data. The same goes for the creation of digital infrastructure and virtual learning facilities to support continuity in education,” he noted.
Over 1000 leading geo-information and allied technologies experts from 20 East and Southern African countries are gathered at The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) for the three-day conference to share, and exchange related information for sustainable development.
Themed as “Space to Community” the conference outcomes will enable opportunity for geo-science experts to inform policy.