Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 21 November 2017 (ECA) – The four-day AfricaGIS 2017 conference opened in Addis Ababa Tuesday with Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa reiterating the ECA’s strong commitment to support African countries in their quest to strengthen their geospatial and statistical information systems, and in advancing the results agenda through evidence-based policy formulation and management.
In a keynote address on driving Africa to become more spatially-enabled, Mr. Chinganya, who spoke on behalf of Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, said the integration of geospatial and statistical information will benefit member States in the provision of services for the attainment of internationally and nationally agreed developmental goals.
“ECA will continue to use its convening power to enhance its dialogue with member States, African sciences and research institutions, private and other sectors, in order to increase awareness and ensure that geospatial science and technology permeates every aspect of our societies,” he said.
Continued Mr. Chinganya: “A t ECA we have also not lost sight of the challenges that lay before us to bring about such revolution. Ensuring high volume, high velocity, high variety, high veracity of the data are some of the challenges. However, at ECA we remain committed to encourage our member States to develop policies that provide access to information either free or at a reasonable cost to allow for wider access for decision-making purposes.”
The conference is being held under the theme; Geospatial and Statistical information imperatives for the ‘Africa We Want’.
Mr. Chinganya said with the advent of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and Africa’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, time has come to develop strategic guidance and processes on how national statistical offices, planning and cartographic authorities should effectively collaborate among themselves in the development of respective data infrastructures and systems.
In addition, he said, any efforts of mainstreaming geospatial technologies into national statistical office activities such as census logistics, designing, planning and monitoring will contribute to significant amounts of spatial, thematic and socio-economic data in support of evidence-based policy analysis and the locational management of information.
He urged participants to “pay particular attention on the present and future issues relevant to the geospatial field, especially on how to build readily available skilled manpower and enabling infrastructures; fostering the development of applications in agriculture, environment, energy and others socio-economic sectors; and developing a coordinated global framework for geospatial information management”.
“The overarching outcome of this conference is to point to information gaps where emphasis should be placed, especially regarding the development of applications that meet the continent development agenda, the Africa we want,” said Mr. Chinganya.
For his part, Ethiopian State Minister and Deputy Commissioner of National Planning Commission, Getachew Adem, said the theme of the conference was befitting to the AU’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens.
“Amongst the innovative and multifaceted approaches required for the successful implementation of the strategy to sustain our Africa rising, it is evident to all of us here that the availability of up to date, accurate and authoritative geographically referenced geospatial information is imperative,” said Mr. Adem.
“I do hope that this continental geospatial information conference will, among other things, provide insights on measures for promoting future development of geospatial application in Africa and support the strategic use of geographic information.”
He said conference outcomes are vital to drive Africa’s development agenda.
The conference is being attended by the representatives from the world best geospatial companies, academics, experts and representatives from member States.
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