Space technology highlighted as critical for achieving development goals

CRITICAL ROLE … Higher education minister ItahKandjii-Murangi (front, second right), National Commission on Re- search, Science and Technology (NCRST) chief executive Anicia Peters (in blue dress), among National Space Science councillors and other NCRST members.

Biosafety Council chairperson Martha Kandawa-Schulz says space technology and exploration is a sector that will propel Namibia to achieve its sustainable development goals.

She was speaking at the inauguration of the National Space Science Council 2024-2028 in Windhoek yesterday.

“As such, the National Space Science Council has a critical role to play in advising the government of Namibia in matters pertaining to astronomy, earth observation, as well as other cross-cutting fields,” Kandawa-Schulz said.

Speaking at the same event, higher education, technology and innovation minster Itah Kandjii-Murangi said space technology and exploration stand as the catalysts propelling the nation towards the achievement of its sustainable development goals.

Kandjii-Murangi emphasised the profound impact of the newly established council on advancing science, technology and innovation in Namibia.

“The establishment of the National Space Science Council reflects our unwavering commitment to advancing science, technology and innovation in Namibia,” said Kandjii-Murangi.

She highlighted the critical role of technological advancements in ensuring Namibia’s self-sustainability, urging the nation to keep pace with the technological advancements of the West.

She said the National Space Science Council not only serves as an advisory body for the strategic direction of space programmes, but also acts as a vital link fostering collaboration between academia, industry and government agencies.

“The council will provide strategic direction and guidance on policy matters pertaining to space science and technology,” she said.

Kandjii-Murangi stressed the need for Namibia to harness the power of science and technology to address global challenges, ranging from potable water and energy issues, to climate change and sustainable development.

In line with this vision, the minister announced the Bio-Economy Strategy, aiming to integrate bio-economy activities into the national economic landscape.

“This is an indication that the government of the Republic of Namibia has long recognised the importance of research, science, technology and innovation,” Kandjii-Murangi said.

The Bio-Economy Strategy seeks to accelerate biotechnology’s contribution to national development, with the potential to alleviate poverty and catalyse sustainable economic growth, she said.

Highlighting the collaborative efforts involved, Kandjii-Murangi mentioned that since 2019, the ministry, in cooperation with the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, has worked alongside the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the Bio-Economy Multi-Sectoral Working Group to develop the National Bio-Economy Strategy.

This initiative showcases Namibia’s commitment to harnessing the transformative power of science, technology and innovation for the nation’s progress.

Loide Shaparara, one of the newly elected members of the Space Science Council as a legal adviser, said every sector requires a legal aspect and perspective to make the flow of processes easier.

“Law is the background of anything. We live in a country based on law and everything we do is regulated by the law, so it’s important in space science, so we integrate the essentials in regulatory processes,” Shaparara said.

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