The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said that there is need to re-orient the exploitation of geospatial technology in Africa and embrace a business and entrepreneur dimension that enables creation of jobs, business and economic opportunities especially for the youth by moving the technology from the laboratories to the marketplace to address the needs of the continent.
The Prime Minister made these remarks at the official opening of the 11th International conference of the African Association of the remote sensing of the environment conference in at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
The conference was organised under the theme “Our Earth, Our Heritage: Harnessing Geospatial Technology for Sustainable Development in Africa”.
The Prime Minister commended the organisers of the conference for their focus on addressing the post 2015 global development agenda from a geospatial science and technology lense in addition to tackling the contemporary development agenda and direction particularly for Africa.
“Africa is currently grappling with enormous development challenges including climate change, persistent land degradation, wetland conversions and transformations, avoidable disasters, forestry cover reduction and high urbanization which all raise sustainability questions stemming from unsustainable undertakings by our people in search of livelihoods,” Dr Rugunda said.
He called upon Ugandans to fully embrace science and harness the potential of geospatial technology to solve societal problems and improve livelihoods.
PM Rugunda launches a publication during the official opening of the Remote Sensing conference at Hotel Africana on Monday (Photo by PMPU)
Hon Rugunda also noted that the government of Uganda together with its Development Partners are fully committed to the utilization of geospatial technology for environmental monitoring, adding that they have produced a range of environmental sensitivity atlases that have eased decision-making on development matters to improve the quality of life of the citizens.
Uganda’s commitment to geospatial technology utilisation is demonstrated by its membership to the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development ( RCMRD) and the recently created National Emergency and Coordination’s Centre (NECOC) under the Office of the Prime Minister to coordinate near real time digital data reception and processing.
However, the Premier noted that there are a number of challenges that the conference delegates need to address including the need to expand our economies and reduce the pressure on the environment and natural resources as a pathway to sustainability.
Dr Rugunda, also launched a publication entitled “Disasters and Climate Resilience in Uganda: Processes, Knowledge and Practices” during the conference”.
PM Rugunda poses for a group photo during the Remote Sensing Conference at Hotel Africana on Monday. On PM’s (R) is Prof Jide, the President of AARSE, while (R) is VC MAK, Prof Ddumba Ssentamu (Photo by PMPU)
The President of the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE), Prof Jide Kufoniyi thanked the government for the support rendered in organising the conference.
Prof Jide highlighted that AARSE aims at increasing awareness of the products and services of geospatial technology through offering a platform for discussion as well as promoting the advancement of knowledge, technology, research and development.
He urged the participants in the conference to always produce technology aimed at rapid and sustainable development and also pledged AARSE’s continued support and commitment in Africa.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Ddumba Sentamu, said the day’s theme was in line with the global development agenda agreed upon to build a resilient goal.
The Chancellor said the conference will create a good platform for networking, sharing and transferring knowledge that will promote research and also lead to the country’s sustainable development.
By Doreen Nasasira
Thursday, 27th October 2016