Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 21 November 2017 (ECA) - Realizing “The Africa We Want’’ should not be difficult if the whole continent collectively works together to transform the dream into reality, says African Union Commission’s Space Science Expert and Coordinator for GMES and Africa, Tidiane Ouattara.
In a keynote address at the ongoing AfricaGIS 2017 conference in Addis Ababa, Mr. Ouattara, an expert in the African Union’s Human Resources, Science and Technology Division, said; “The Africa We Want is not an unrealistic dream or wish. It is not a series of promises.”
“It is an imperative for each African, each of us here. Realizing the Africa We Want should be seen as a collective enterprise where several experts and specialists from various fields and areas are required and condemned to work together to properly transform the dream into reality. And this is also very true for the geospatial and statistics communities.”
He said earth observation and the monitoring of Africa’s abundant natural resources are important for conserving the welfare of current and future generations.
Currently, Mr. Ouattara said, there’s a need to address the huge gap in terms of the requisite infrastructure and critical human resources at all levels to fully realize the potential benefits that would accrue from the sustainable use and conservation of these resources.
“Therefore, we need to speak with one voice, we need to listen to and understand each other. It requires a shift or cultural change: each specialist should abandon his bubble, be open to others and make compromise and in the best scenario, build consensus. That is the only way to providing policy and decision makers, the public and private sector, as well as end-users with sound evidence-based inputs for an Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa,” he said.
Mr. Ouattara said the AfricaGIS 2017 is an opportunity for the African Union Commission to not only connect with the worldwide space community, but also share with participants the vision and plan of the AUC towards this direction.
He said Africa’s aspirations for 2063 reflect Africans’ desire for shared prosperity and well-being, for unity and integration, and for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons, where the full potential of women and youth, boys and girls are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want.
Mr. Ouattara also spoke about the first African Space Policy and Strategy that was adopted by the continent’s leaders in 2016.
He said the manifold benefits that will accrue to Africa from a formal space sector will surely assist us to translate the vision for an integrated and prosperous continent in peace with itself into reality.
The space expert said statistics with greater geographical detail were needed and constitute sound evidence-based sources for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic and sustainable development policies, strategy, programmes, projects and operations.
The conference is being held under the theme; Geospatial and Statistical Information Imperatives for the “Africa We Want”.
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