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Zim To Join A Select Group Of African Nations With Space Agencies

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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).

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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.

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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
  • Communication
  • 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.

Lofty goals…

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.

National University of Science and TechnologyAmon Murwira

National University of Science and Technology is a state owned tertiary institution located in Zimbabwe's second largest city Bulawayo in the Matabeleland province. The University is administered by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. It was the second university to be established in 1991... Read More About National University of Science and Technology

Amon Murwira is a Zimbabwean academic. He is currently the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development. Read More About Amon Murwira

9 thoughts on “Zim To Join A Select Group Of African Nations With Space Agencies

  1. No, we are not ready for that yet. I feel the funds could be better utilised when diverted to other facets of our economy and educational sector that badly need intervention. In my opinion it’s a good idea when the economy is more stable

  2. Long overdue we cannot get into precison agriculture without our own space infrastructure.

  3. I don’t think they should form an agency without having tried to perform some of these tasks without one. Once agencies/committees e.t.c are formed, they are hard to disband even if when they are proven to not add value. Usually they also have board members and management that earn hefty salaries. These people will always try to justify the existence of their organisation.

    The Ministry of Education should try doing this on their own first, using free or open source tools. For example, you can monitor farming using Google Earth. From there, you can establish the deficiencies both in skills and tooling, as well as the necessity of a dedicated agency.

    On a side note: Please look up the meaning of “select” as used in the title.

    1. True this is something I hadn’t thought of when looking at this… Interesting.

  4. Doesn’t EW already have a satellite or satellites or services running off them? If this is so, isn’t the govt duplicating effort?
    Frankly, this govt is the worst at project management but the best at project announcement. Some years ago, Chitungwiza residents were promised an electric train and boards were actually put up to indicate work had begun but it was all election lies aka hot air or vapourware!! The govt needs to learn the basics like telling the truth before any of their grandiose plans are even announced!

  5. Honestly…there are far many better things to use the money on in the country as we speak….if so called funds are available why not finish the pipeline from zambezi to Matabeleland that would enable more agriculture and rearing of cattle for export which would bring money into the country….these ideas are ridiculous at a time when the country needs to use its funds to build the economy,,,,we rather use our own money the better Zimbabwean economy than to get foreign add that we will stay indebted to for many years

  6. As long as the intentions are pure and the real use case isn’t surveillance on the population which I suspect. Honestly, if it took up something small like 1% of Gvt spending, that’s $54m, and that’s enough to do something special. India’s Mars mission only cost $73m! There’s always “something better to do with the money”, and that debate is had even in the wealthy West, but what we’ve come to see there is government investment is space programmes has led to technological leaps and job creation not just in aerospace industry but across the economy. This could be a really good thing. The key of course, as ever in Zim, is that the money goes where it is supposed to, and the programme is used for the right things. There, that’s were I join you all in skeptism.

  7. STUPID IDEA ! It’s about priorities or the total lack of them. Every single one of those reasons offered by the honourable minister for this project already has a private company already providing a service for it. For example
    Mineral discovery – Satellite Imaging Corporation,
    satimagingcorp.com
    Though why government would be involved at this level is beyond me, just sell exploration and development rights to mining companies
    Agriculture Monitoring – satimagingcorp.com
    Satellite Navigation – Google maps
    Combine that with the road maps from ZINARA that’s more than good enough…. Unless ZINARA lost those maps😉(which wouldn’t surprise me)
    Communication – Stop throwing roadblocks in
    front of companies like LIQUID and its competitors when they want to expand their fibre optic system. Use the money in the universal Services Fund to put in place cell phone towers in areas that Econet, Netone and Telecel deem to be too uneconomical to service. That’s what the money is supposed to be used for not bailing out ZIFA 😠
    Earth Observation – Google Earth and Google
    Maps
    Or did the country recently aquire some Tomahawk/Kalibr cruise missiles that we are just itching to test out on some country and Google Earth and Maps are just not up to the level of pin point accuracy required? The patient is on the operating table bleeding out internally from ruptured blood vessels, so the doctors decide that this is the perfect time to discuss how to replace the patients shattered thigh bones with artificial ones….. 🙁 The economy is in shambles , education system is a disaster zone staff shortages, hot sitting, exam papers leaking etc. So for a government has no clue how to sort out those problems the answer is obvious! Let’s pick some Sexy nd fancy project that has no current utility to the country and is a total waste of resources!

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