Kenya to use space technology to boost disaster response to emergencies

By Bai LinUnreguser

NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to harness space technology in order to boost disaster response to emergencies through early warning systems, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Monica Juma, cabinet secretary, Ministry of Defense told journalists in Nairobi that the use of space technology has been traditionally limited to defense and intelligence purposes.

"We want to develop more applications for space technology to provide communication redundancy in case of disasters," Juma said during the launch of the Kenya Space Agency strategic plan 2020-2025.

She added that the strategic plan provides a clear roadmap and firmly anchors space science and related applications as key drivers of national development goals.

Juma said that Kenya will harness its geographic advantage with space science to bring socio-economic benefits to its citizens.

She observed that Kenya has identified four strategic areas in the space sector that will enable the country to enhance the utilization of space technology for socio-economic development.

According to Juma, the east African nation is keen to collaborate with developed countries to improve its nascent space industry.

"The aim is to position the country to tap into regional and global opportunities including entering into regional and multilateral agreements," Juma added.

Thomas Chepkuto, acting director-general, Kenya Space Agency, said that the country is prioritizing the development of an indigenous space industry by 2030.

Chepkuto added that space science will also help the country in weather forecasting, climate change mitigation and adaptation through monitoring of the earth from space.

The space agency noted that the space science field will also help Kenya to tap into possibilities of precision agriculture, route mapping, and other related geolocation services.

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