Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, said developing Africa’s human capital in space technology to protect its water bodies is crucial at a time of increasing water pollution.
He said Africa could not be an active participant in space technology without improving its human resource base.
Dr. Adutwum said this at the 5th International Conference on the Use of Space Technologies for Water Resources Management held in Accra.
The three-day conference, attended by stakeholders from academia and industry, as well as researchers, focuses on the applications of space technology for water management to benefit developing countries.
He called on African governments to work towards developing their human resource capital.
The Minister said, “Africa needs to wake up to understand that this will not be a case where we rely on space technology (hardware and software) from other countries and we are just observers. At best, we become consumers of the research done in our countries.
“To participate fully in this, we need to think about how we improve the teaching of engineering technology and mathematics so that when we talk about using space technology to monitor water resources, it is not not just read the research from the West,” he added.
He pointed out that despite the progress made by African countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, they were still lagging behind and had a lot of catching up to do in protecting their water bodies with the help of space technology.
This, he said, called for increased efforts by various African governments to invest in education and building support systems to enable its people to master space technology to protect its water and other resources.
The Minister noted that Ghana is making every effort to develop human capacity through the establishment of STEM schools to meet the challenge of offering both hardware and software in space technologies.
He added, “I want to assure you that our goal is to make sure that we build our human capacity, not only for research, but also for software writing and manufacturing, as well as the necessary equipment.”
Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) said that space technology has become part of the current era, which requires all stakeholders to work together to make it beneficial to Africans.
He said: “Space technology is no longer the future; it is now and it is here. Now is the time for us (Africans) to come together as industry, universities and research agencies to work together and make our lives better and more enjoyable.
He said: “In this era where water has become even more important for sustained economic activity and healthy livelihoods, we are well on our way through the application of space technology to impact healthy for our future”.
The Vice Chancellor said UENR was using satellites to measure the impact of illegal mining on the country’s water bodies and provide remediation technologies to address them.