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South Africa Will Bring Space Technology to the Continent; Will Work with China Under BRICS

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EIRNS—In an interview pubished today by EE Publishers, the CEO of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Dr. Valanathan Munsami, explained the agency’s new strategic plan. The focus is bringing the rest of Africa into the use of space technology and applications. The five-year strategic framework focuses on applications in two areas—telecommunications satellites and navigation satellite services—in order to up-grade economic development to all of Africa.

Dr. Munsami reported that he will be going to China, "to sign an agreement for a joint satellite program under [the] BRICS," which has been proposed by China.

Munsami spelled out plans for Africa, saying, "We will be developing partnerships with other African research institutions." The idea is to integrate various capabilities that South Africa has scattered among various government departments, into a "platform for the African continent." Data that is collected by satellites that SANSA operates will be made available without cost to other African countries, with the focus on food security and water. SANSA recently signed an MOU with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and a technical working group will be set up to see where space technology can be used to meet NEPDA’s requirements.

South Africa is also looking at how it can broaden its use of other nation’s space capabilities to other African nations. South Africa, Munsami explained, has access to data from the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite, and in arrangement with China, will distribute satellite imagery through the South African Development Community (SADC). The rest of Africa will gain access to the imagery, working with Brazil. South Africa, itself, has a new agreement with the German space agency, and one with the European Commission. [MGF]