In celebration of World Space Week 2023, the Angolan Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communication (MINTTICS), in partnership with the National Space Programme Management Office (GGPEN), Ambassadors for Space Education and other national collaborators, organised a series of events. These events featured lectures and seminars delivered by experts from French, Portuguese, and Japanese space start-ups and representatives from the Angolan Space Programme. The aim was to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
The event also incorporated networking sessions, fostering an environment where start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), larger corporations, and the general public could interact, promoting cooperation initiatives within the space sector.
Furthermore, these activities were designed to align with this year’s World Space Week theme: “Space and Entrepreneurship.” This alignment corresponds with Strategic Axis 2 of the Angolan National Space Strategy, which focuses on “Training and Promotion.” The emphasis was on showcasing Angola’s accomplishments in the space sector and how they contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To conclude this enlightening programme, Mr Mário Oliveira, MINTTICS Minister, delivered a closing speech. Here is the summary of his speech.
Mr Olivera noted that this year’s Space Week carried the theme “Space and Entrepreneurship,” with a particular focus on the National Space Programme (NSP) and its alignment with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He emphasised that this emphasis is in line with the Angolan government’s ongoing efforts to promote employment opportunities, especially among the younger population. The connection between entrepreneurship and reduced unemployment was highlighted, as it can significantly positively impact various social indicators.
Citing data from 2022, as reported by Space in Africa, Mr Olivera mentioned that the global space economy had experienced substantial growth of about 8%, reaching a total value of USD 546 billion. He pointed out that projections indicate a further 41% growth over the next five years, estimated at USD 1.1 trillion by 2030. In 2023, Mr Olivera disclosed that African countries collectively allocated a substantial USD 425.01 million towards financing space-related activities, indicating a growing interest and investment in the space sector.
Mr Olivera also highlighted the increasing demand for space infrastructure-related activities and the evolving nature of the space sector as a diversified ecosystem of innovation, business, and entrepreneurship. He noted that various activities during the week included lectures featuring national speakers and representatives from major space agencies like NASA, ROSCOSMOS, and ESA and entrepreneurship sessions showcasing space technology projects and were tailored to start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These initiatives, he stated, would invigorate the space sector in Angola, and these small businesses were poised to become valuable service providers, including small internet providers, contributing to the reduction of the digital divide. Furthermore, the Minister highlighted the significant progress in the Science and Information Technology Sector, as emphasised by His Excellency President of the Republic, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. Mr Olivera noted that this sector is currently experiencing substantial growth and expansion, which has culminated in the development and launch of the ANGOSAT-2 communication satellite.
Mr Olivera reported on the remarkable capabilities of ANGOSAT-2, which boasts an impressive data transmission rate of over 13 Gbps, making a substantial bandwidth available. He emphasised that after more than six months of operational testing and service provision, the Angolan satellite has transitioned to the commercial phase and is now widely utilised for delivering telecommunications services to national operators. ANGOSAT-2 has effectively connected more than 150 remote locations, including communes, municipalities, and public and private institutions. This has ensured the availability of telecommunications services and has significantly reduced digital disparity, thus fostering digital inclusion.
Furthermore, Mr Olivera reported on initiating the “Conecta Angola” project, which harnesses the services of ANGOSAT-2. He explained that the primary objective of this project is to establish connections between remote points, including communes, municipalities, and public institutions throughout the country. Notably, he stressed that “Conecta Angola” is a private sector initiative, providing micro and small businesses with the opportunity to leverage the capabilities of the ANGOSAT-2 satellite to establish satellite internet providers. This, he noted, is an essential step toward further diminishing the digital divide and promoting digital inclusion.
Mr Olivera reported on the impressive achievements of the past six years of organising World Space Week in Angola. He said the event has featured over ten (10) activities in each edition, reaching over 5 million citizens through various media channels. It has brought together educational institutions and underprivileged children’s homes to promote STEM education and space awareness. Mr Olivera emphasised the importance of their 54 Space Education Ambassadors in advancing Angola’s space-related entrepreneurship ecosystem. In addition, he expressed the significant strides the nation has made through its National Space Programme. He confidently asserted that the programme is yielding substantial benefits for the country. Mr Olivera emphasised the programme’s achievements during World Space Week, highlighting the various space applications instrumental in Angola’s progress.
According to Mr Olivera, these space applications, including TECH-Gest for asset monitoring, TECH-Agro for agricultural productivity estimation, TECH-Ecology for oil spill detection, and TECH-Minas for monitoring mining activity, have become integral components of the nation’s diverse sectors. Notably, these solutions play crucial roles in urban planning, agriculture, and the exploration of vital resources such as minerals, oil, and gas.
Mr Olivera underscored the pivotal role of satellite imagery and advanced artificial intelligence techniques in making these applications possible. He also noted that these solutions are currently being utilised by key institutions in Angola, such as the National Agency for Oil, Gas, and Biofuels (ANPG), the Regulatory Agency for Cargo and Logistics Certification of Angola (ARCCLA), and Endiama. Furthermore, Mr Olivera pointed out the international recognition the National Space Programme has garnered. TECH-Gest, in particular, was highlighted as one of the top 100 artificial intelligence projects dedicated to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It received commendation as an excellent solution by reputable organisations, including UNESCO and the International Institute for Research in Artificial Intelligence.
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