Today, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of the People’s Republic of China welcomed African delegates to inaugurate the China-Africa Cooperation Centre on Satellite Remote Sensing Application. This momentous occasion marked a significant step forward in the collaboration between China and Africa in utilising remote sensing technologies for the sustainable development of natural resources.
The programme, jointly organised by China’s Land Satellite Remote Sensing Application Centre, the National Satellite Ocean Application Service, and the MNR, aims to establish a data-sharing service platform and conduct remote sensing monitoring of natural resources in coastal zones, focusing on mangrove remote sensing monitoring and other ocean-related application services in Africa.
The event was attended by esteemed delegates, including government officials and agency representatives from various African states, including Cabo Verde, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa, actively implementing remote sensing technologies to tackle socioeconomic challenges and enhance sustainable development efforts at the national, regional, and continental levels.
One notable attendee was Dr Emmanuel Nkurunziza, the Director General of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD). Dr Nkurunziza emphasised the critical need for global collaboration in his official address. He highlighted RCMRD’s ongoing partnership with MNR through the Land Satellite Remote Sensing Application Centre (LASAC).
According to him, the collaborative efforts between RCMRD and LASAC have resulted in establishing the Natural Resources Satellite Remote Sensing Cloud Service Platform Node. This platform aims to improve access to remote sensing data and provide actionable intelligence for informed decision-making in strategic areas. Dr Nkurunziza commended LASAC for its contribution, stating that they have provided RCMRD with an impressive 22,502 scenes of China’s natural resources satellite images, with a total data volume of 36 terabytes. This coverage spans an impressive 97.41% of the territories of the 20 RCMRD member states, significantly enhancing RCMRD’s capabilities in fulfilling its duties diligently.
The Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA), Dr Sherif Sedky, also graced the occasion. His opening statement emphasised the longstanding strategic collaboration between Egypt and China in space. He highlighted the significant milestone achieved by establishing and commissioning the Satellite Assembly, Integration, and Testing Center (AITC), the largest facility of its kind in Africa and the Middle East.
Furthermore, Dr Sedky underscored the fruitful collaboration between Chinese experts and EgSA’s engineering team over the past three years. This collaboration focused on developing the earth observation satellite, MisrSat 2. Notably, the satellite has undergone successful testing and is now slated for launch in October 2023.
Dr Sedky expressed his optimism that the China-Africa Cooperation Centre on Satellite Remote Sensing Application will foster increased innovation and advancement in remote sensing technologies for sustainable development. He reiterated the Centre’s positive impact on enhancing the overall utilisation of remote sensing technologies across various sectors on the continent.
Following its full operation, the Centre will be a hub for knowledge exchange and technical cooperation between China and African nations by facilitating capacity building, technology transfer, and joint research initiatives to harness the power of satellite remote sensing in addressing pressing environmental and developmental challenges across Africa.
Furthermore, governments, policymakers, and scientists can make informed decisions by leveraging remote sensing satellite data, promoting sustainable development practices, and safeguarding valuable ecosystems.
China’s commitment to supporting Africa in harnessing the potential of satellite remote sensing underscores the growing partnership between the two regions as the Centre paves the way for closer collaboration, empowering African nations to leverage cutting-edge technologies to benefit their people and the environment.
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