Namibia, a Southern African country, has launched a National Space Science and Technology Policy on 4 June 2021. The policy framework aims to guide the use of space resources to contribute towards the socio-economic growth and development of Namibia. The policy (no 4th/23.03.21/006) will have an implementation period that will last from 2021/2022 until 2029/2030.
Earlier in 2018, the country, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, set out plans to develop a space science policy to respond to the numerous projects related to space of which the country was pursuing. This was one of the important projects set out in the Ministry’s performance agreement of 2020/2021 between the government of President H.E Dr Hage G. Geingob and the Ministry led by Hon. Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi. Namibia is hoping to capitalise on remote sensing and geospatial technologies to address socioeconomic problems while targeting disaster management, urban planning, protection of economic territory, education, weather monitoring, agriculture, environmental monitoring.
The policy build on already laid global, regional and national regulations such as the UN Outer Space Treaties, the African Space Policy and Strategy, SADEC Protocol for Science and Technology, to mention a few. The key components of the policy include:
- Strengthening human and national capacity.
- Harness space technologies to contribute to effective management of Namibia national resource.
- Strenghen collaboration and attract projects (with a focus on Universities).
- Promote innovations, and
- Strive to be an important player in the space industry while utilising space products and services.
The policy will embrace national, regional and international collaboration and promote national capacity building in various fields around space while creating a synergy between government, academia and industry.
The Minister, while giving her speech, said, “The development of the policy underpins already existing commitment by the government through the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation in partnership with the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, in advancing the development of women and institutional capacity aimed at optimally utilizing space science and technology for the benefit of the Namibian people”.
The policy was initiated by the National Commission on Research Science and Technology through its space science council with input from the local, regional, national and international community, which led to the first draft of the policy. “We have entered several bilateral agreements with other countries in the past, and we are also a part of the Square Kilometre Array project. We will be building on this to position ourselves in the global space sector while ensuring a peaceful use of outer space”, she continues.