Ghana bids to host African Union Space Agency
Ghana has, on the advice of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, put in a bid to host the planned African Union (AU) Space Agency.
During their 26th Ordinary Session of the AU on January 31, 2016 in Addis Ababa, African leaders adopted the African Space Policy (ASP) and Strategy.
The strategy is the first concrete step to realise an African Outer Space programme as one of the flagship programmes of the AU Development Agenda 2063.
Space science involves space exploration and the study of natural phenomena and physical bodies occurring in outer space, such as space medicine and astrobiology for socio-economic benefits.
At the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said Ghana had the capability to host the continental space agency effectively.
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He said the successful launch of a satellite into space by some students of the All Nations University College in June 2017 had boosted the government’s confidence in Ghana’s ability to host the AU Space Agency.
The satellite, GhanaSat 1, was developed with support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and has been embedded with low and high resolution cameras to take pictures of Ghana and provide data that can be used to monitor the coastal areas of the country.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said MESTI was ready to facilitate the development of the required human resources for the successful implementation of the national space programmes, particularly in astronomy research.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng reiterated that science, technology and innovation (STI) was an integral part of the government’s development agenda to ensure sustainability and environmental safety.
He said his ministry was collaborating with all other ministries to ensure the effective application of STI to government development programmes.
According to him, Ghana’s technology gap had resulted in the slow pace of its development and poverty level and, therefore, the government had introduced a number of interventions to bridge the technology gap to facilitate sustainable and accelerated development.
Prof. Frimpong- Boateng indicated that the starting point and the foundation for the interventions were the application of STI to national development which required a national STI policy to ensure effectiveness and coordination.
The ministry, he said, had, therefore, fine-tuned and improved an existing draft STI policy which had been presented to the Cabinet for approval.
“That will guide us on how to proceed or apply STI to our development agenda to make it sustainable,” he said.
He observed that the policy would help operationalise STI implementation and guide the country on its priorities.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng added that the ministry had set up a technical committee mandated to set up a foundry to produce metal castings to boost industrialisation, manufacturing, construction among other sectors.
The foundry will produce particularly machine parts and some basic metallic tools and inputs needed in the manufacturing value chain, the construction sector, the health and agriculture sector and other sectors.
The minister hinted that engineers from the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research were also conducting research that would guide the building of a computer numerical control machine (CUC) that can be used to polish engine blocks and produce other machine parts produced at the foundry to meet international standards.