At the opening of the International Astronautical Federation's annual conference, held for the first time in Africa and marking the 50th anniversary of human space flight, some of the world's top scientists heard that more African countries are launching satellites and taking advantage of space technology.
The IAF then called on the continent to use space technology to benefit its people.
According to IAF president Berndt Feuerbacher, who opened the congress "exciting times are emerging for space in Africa." He said that the IAF always sought to "disseminate space knowledge to many new countries globally," adding that "[i]t will continue to spread the notion, space is not just the playground for wealthy countries."
Last month, said Feuerbacher, Nigeria's space programme launched two satellites, Nigeriasat 2 and Nigeriasat X, used for forestry, mapping, disaster monitoring and security applications; in 2009 South Africa launched an environmental observation satellite called SumbandilaSat, and last year it formed its own space agency. Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia all have their own space initiatives; "I am glad to see more and more African countries embracing the benefits space technology brings to their citizens," he concluded.
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