Zimbabwe launches space agency

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By Xinhua

HARARE: Zimbabwe on Tuesday launched its space agency to advance the country’s research and innovation.

Launching the institution, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Zimbabwe National GeoSpatial and Space Agency (Zingsa) is expected to advance the country’s interests in geospatial science, earth observation and satellite communication systems.

“This initiative is expected to enhance Zimbabwe’s capabilities in global policy discourses on generation, access, use and regulation of the application of space technologies and innovations for sustainable development,” Mnangagwa said.

He said the space agency will go a long way towards building technical expertise and institutional capacities in various sectors of the economy including agriculture, minerals mapping and quantification, life sciences, wildlife management and tourism, renewable energy, weather and climate services.

Tapping into global technological advancements would also aid the country’s industrial agenda as the country strives to attain a middle income economy by 2030, Mnangagwa said.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira said establishment of Zingsa would take a phased approach.

“We know exactly what we are doing, we know exactly where we are going, we know that it will be a phased approach and we know that it will be successful,” he said.

Venturing into space technology, the minister said, would open doors for skilled Zimbabweans living outside the country to come back and assist in building the industry.

South African Space Advisory Company official Turcia Busakwe lauded the development, saying it was no longer expensive to invest in space technologies given advancements in technology.

Busakwe said her company was prepared to help Zimbabwe until it was able to launch its own satellite into space.

“One of the biggest benefits of investment in space systems is national pride,” she said, adding the creation of high-tech industries and promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education were other benefits.