Scientists from across Africa began a week-long meeting in Nairobi on Monday to discuss the use of space technology to tackle climate change and other weather-related disasters on the continent.
The international conference brought together delegates from across the continent to discuss and formulate ideas toward the utilization of earth observation and geospatial technology in development and decision-making.
The conference, organized by the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), focused on agriculture and food security, weather and climate, water and water-related disasters, land use, administration and management, and the creation of innovation hubs.
The RCMRD is an inter-governmental organization formed under the auspices of the UNECA and the African Union to provide services in surveying, mapping, remote sensing, geographic information system and information and communication technology to its 20 members.
Raychelle Omamo, cabinet secretary for Kenya’s Ministry of Defense, who opened the meeting, said the program will develop a continental service that will enable African nations to track changes across their countries in unprecedented detail.
“Data is transformative power that is capable of uplifting life by making right decisions and controlling wastage and people must hunger for this data to transform countries quicker,” Omamo said.
She called on African countries to embrace the technology which, after all, is being offered freely.
The symposium also introduced Digital Earth Africa program, a continental-scale platform using satellite data for decision-ready information and insights of environmental conditions to drive decision-making.
The core technology behind the program comes from Australia, which implemented the first operational data cube, and will scale up the technology to the African continent by calling on the Geoscience Australia experience.
Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara, deputy minister of information and communications of Sierra Leone, said the initiative is a timely occasion that will go a long way to mitigate the effects of climate change.
William Kwasi Sabi, deputy minister for monitoring and evaluation of Ghana, said African countries will benefit from the big data by using the freely available information for routine decision-ready information and services.
Oliver Chinganya, director of African Center for Statistics at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said the platform will offer inputs for deliberating and assisting in policy-making in Africa.