Space science, an asset to achieve the SDGs

[KINSHASA] Held from April 16 to 22 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the 9thi The Science and Technology Week (SST) edition was an opportunity to show how space science and technology can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.

Maram Kaire, a Senegalese astronaut, also says that the countries that are today rooted in space technologies are also the most advanced in achieving the SDGs.

“If we take the countries that are satellite operators or the countries that have a space agency, we realize that these countries are almost, at least currently according to the results of 2021, the most advanced in the world in achieving their goals. “, says the astronaut.

And to conclude that: “the more we emphasize the use and exploitation of space, the more chances we have of achieving the SDGs.”

“The more we emphasize the use and exploitation of space, the more chances we have of achieving the SDGs”

Maram Kaire, Senegalese astronaut

For Maram Kaire, critical sectors such as education, health or agriculture (to achieve the goal of “zero hunger”) call for the use of satellite data.

“We can conclude that the space helps to achieve, almost by these 17 SDGs, most of the objectives. This is what we see on the results maps. We think that if the African countries start, it can go faster “, he explains.

The following maps show that the countries that have developed the space industry (left) are also the most advanced in achieving the SDGs (right).

Source: Maram Kaire

Source: Maram Kai.

A position shared by Stéphane Kenmoé, a Cameroonian physicist and researcher at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.

“We realized that in many areas that we thought were disconnected from the sky, space science is ubiquitous. In a city like Kinshasa with its 15 million inhabitants, there are traffic jams all the time. With space science, we can do to make traffic smoother and to better plan urban travel, ”he explains.

In the agricultural sector, the researcher believes that thanks to space science we can control the movement of locust pests that destroy production and thus protect crops “by implanting shields against these locusts to have healthy and abundant crops.”Thus, Albert Kabasele Yenga, a researcher in space science of remote sensing and director general of the Geographical Institute of the Congo (IGC), believes that African countries should take ownership of space technology and that it should be taught. from the beginning of primary school.

“Activities such as Science and Technology Week allow our governments, the public sector and the private sector to understand the importance of these space technologies …”, adds the Congolese physicist Raïssa Malu, president of the association. Invest in peopleOHS organizer.

Smart investment

In a continent where states are still struggling to meet the vital needs of their populations, Raïssa Malu thinks that it is working in parallel, that is, having both an investment in these technologies and investing in basic infrastructure such as in Africa. accelerate its development.

“We will never go through all the stages that developed countries have gone through. It doesn’t make sense, we would be late. The aim is to accelerate this development and accelerate this development, it is also to invest in this type of technology while ensuring that basic infrastructure, in particular water and electricity, are guaranteed in our populations, specifically.

“This is the message we want to send to our governments. It’s not a dream or a gadget or a madness, it’s really a smart investment “, insists the physicist.For Maram Kaire, the mistake is to think that space technology is a dream or a kind of bait. “If Africa wants to reach a certain level of development, we have to start and we don’t think it is far from our realities … It’s something accessible,” he said.

“Satellite technology has evolved so much that we are in the period of miniaturization. Satellites that cost millions of dollars today are accessible for hundreds of thousands of dollars and accessible to our academics, ”says the astronaut.

The 2022 edition of the SST was rightly placed under the motto: “Space technologies at the service of sustainable development in Africa”, and its partners included the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation. of the DRC.

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