Govt Eyes Space Tech Policy

GOVERNMENT IS considering the option of passing a Ghana Space Policy (GSP).

This is to harness space technology for Ghana’s socio-economic prosperity, according to Vice President Bawumia.

It would also support efforts being made by the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) to explore the space industry for accelerated national development.

Dr. Bawumia made the announcement at the closing ceremony of the United Nations’ Fifth International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management in Accra, on Friday.

The three-day conference brought together more than 100 participants from 87 countries worldwide, including scientists, researchers and policy analysts to network and discuss strategies on how to use space technology for national development.

It was also intended to strengthen the use of space technologies to safeguard and monitor water resources, as well as preserve it for future generations.

The event was jointly organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, in collaboration with the Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz International Prize for Water and four other ministries.

Addressing participants, the Vice President indicated that there were lots of opportunities and benefits offered by space science and technology application, for which Ghana cannot afford to ignore its potentials for economic growth.

“We have a strategic and economic interest to invest in our space capabilities,” he stated, whilst noting with emphasis that “Space applications are essential tools for our security, environmental monitoring, communication, disaster prevention and risk reduction.”

Apart from that, Dr. Bawumia said space technology could also help Ghana manage her natural resources, provide early warning, agriculture and food security, weather prediction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, job creation, space services, transportation and health services.

Ghana, he said, has initiated several programmes and activities in space science, starting with signing the African Square Kilometer Array (SKA) partnership bid agreement led by South Africa involving nine African countries in 2007.

This agreement, Dr. Bawumia said, was what led to the establishment of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory, commissioned in 2017 as part of the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network being implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), South Africa.

The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), through the Earth Observation and Research Innovation Centre (EORIC), is also mapping fires across Africa, identifying water bodies and areas of possible drought, and predicting the weather along the middle belt.

Dr. Bawumia indicated that the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration as part of the use of space technology in Ghana had increased the number of television channels and available options for the viewer.

That, he said, has also offered viewers better picture quality, clearer sound, introduction of new services, and more interactivity and data services, including electronic programme guide for television viewers.

“We can all attest to the prevailing technologies and services available to us from the development and onward on-boarding of space technologies for national development,” Dr. Bawumia added.

On his part, Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, stressed the belief that the Ghana Space Bill which is before Cabinet will be passed into law to ensure a meaningful utilisation of the space industry.

BY Charles Takyi-Boadu