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The continent is also faced with a number of challenges.
Most Africans are faced with poverty, hunger, poor quality education, ill health, poor systems of governance and violence.
A growing number and proportion of Africans live in urban slums each year. In addition, Africa has experienced an economic growth rate that is far too low, while industrial development remains under-developed overall.
Africans need to change Africa, educating Africa’s people and creating opportunities, value chains and industries that can grow a vibrant and integrated African economy. It is well understood that innovation and technology development are drivers of sustainable economic growth. Coupled with improved education, collaboration and good governance; African partners can work together to overcome the difficulties faced by our continent.
Technology infrastructure and development can directly impact lives…
by contributing to the improvement of education, provision of services, industry development, alleviation of unemployment as well as by contributing to enhanced regional economic integration.
Space science and technology deliver on a wide spectrum of national priorities including job creation, poverty reduction, resource management and rural development. This is achieved through space infrastructure that provides for environmental and resource management, safety and security of communities, intelligent logistics, disaster management, and the stimulation of innovation leading to increased productivity and growth.
Space science and technology require the development of specialised materials that are energy efficient and can withstand the harsh conditions of space. In addition, components have to be miniaturised and reliable with a high precision rating. Addressing these challenges leads to groundbreaking technologies and innovation that find application in medicine, security and many other sectors.
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The return on investment from space infrastructure can be summarised into direct and indirect benefits. Direct value takes the form of commercial income from space services and products.
This includes revenue generated from Ground Station (Telemetry, Tracking & Command) services, the sale of space system components, and provision of data, analytics and applications as well as navigation, geo-positioning and communication services.
Indirect value is more difficult to quantify and includes the benefit that accrues to the nation from the use of satellites to conserve the environment; geospatial information for crop forecasting and optimisation, rural development and urban planning; sustainable human settlement development and improved livelihoods of households, better location of schools, clinics and other public facilities and amenities. Other indirect benefits include disaster monitoring and mitigation as well as the value generated through knowledge creation and its impact on increasing the nation’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness.
Overcoming Africa’s economic, political, environmental and social challenges is contingent upon a collective effort to augment and sustain sectors that are responsive to these challenges.
Such efforts will promote commercial activities, ensure productivity and efficiency gains, and facilitate cost avoidance measures that support the broader public good.
It is not sufficient for each country to invest and develop its own industry base without growing an accessible marketplace for that industry. African participants would be well placed to develop complementary industry capabilities and value chains that will grow an African marketplace with market players that will in turn drive infrastructure, manufacture and economic development.
ASATS is a framework of interaction that incorporates investment and colocation by government, industry and, academia to cross-subsidize and collaborate in order to provide sustainable access to space infrastructure towards technology and economic development.
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