The government has revealed that they are working to launch their own space agency. The National Geo-Spatial and Space Agency (NGSSA-quite the mouthful).
The space agency will be headed by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education as part of their 100-day plan and the plan will make use of airspace a priority. The minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Professor Amon Murwira said:
We said we are going to launch the Zimbabwe National Geo-Spatial and Space Agency. It will be launched by his excellency very soon but it has already been approved.
What problems does the government hope to solve?
According to the minister, the government seeks to use satellite technology for a variety of purposes which include;
- Mineral discovery
- Agriculture monitoring
- Satellite navigation
- Earth observation
In order to achieve these lofty goals Murwira emphasised the building of hubs and actually confirmed that a hub will be under construction soon at NUST (National University of Science and Technology):
To achieve this, we needed innovation hubs and they are being built right now. If you go to Nust, you will see them clearing the ground.
It seems this project is still in its infancy and it will be interesting to see how it shapes up (if it shapes up at all). In Zim, a lot of things have been promised but have failed to materialise so its understandable that people would be sceptical of the aims that Prof. Murwira is talking about.
The spatial agency may seem like a far-fetched idea but in Africa countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, SA, Ethiopia and Algeria are already working on space programs. Kenya also recently joined this list of countries.
In Egypt, the satellite tech has been used on the ground, with the main focus being agriculture purposes along the River Nile. They observe the country’s mainland and coastal line by taking high-resolution pictures of the land for environmental, scientific and security purposes.
This is a clear indication of the multi-faceted use cases that come with satellite technology and because of this I actually think there’s reason to pursue the program.
What are your thoughts? Are you excited for this or you think Zim isn’t in a position to execute such a program? Do we have resources necessary to undertake in this when our economy is in shambles? Let’s engage in the comments below.