Sustainable Development in Africa & Satellites - page 121

Deciding - 119
challenge for most countries.
deforestation and also poor
environmental policies
are degrading the
for fragile rural
context of the
outcomes of
the September
Summi t
S u s t a i n a b l e
Development (WSSD),
Africa has renewed
its quest in this matter
through the NEPAD initiative.
Its framework was crafted with inbuilt
political arrangements focused on
repositioning African economies on
sustainable growth and development
trajectories within the triple pillars
of good governance, infrastructures
development and partnership with the
international development community.
The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
was adopted at the conclusion of the World
Summit on Sustainable Development. It
providesa framework for implementing the
original UN Conference on Environment
and Development commitments, with
special focus on Water, Energy, Health,
Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB). The
Johannesburg Plan of Action recognises
NEPAD as providing a framework for
sustainable development in the African
continent. It also recognises that achieving
sustainable development requires action at
all levels to create an enabling environment
at the regional, national and local levels
for sustained economic growth and
In Africa as elsewhere, sustainable
development requires access to data,
information and knowledge, where
technology – including satellites – could
play an important role. Application of
technology will have a high-value impact
on the various developmental sectors, in
particular the environment, agriculture,
health, security, education, disaster
management and emergency response.
Enhancing welfare
It is sometimes forgotten that science
and the scientific temperament had
its flowering on the continent of Africa
before anywhere else. The civilisations of
antiquity provide
no figure that
a p p r o x i m a t e s
the stature of the
venerable Egyptian
sage Imhotep (2655-
2600 BC). Doctor, poet,
philosopher, scientist
and architect, he served
as Chancellor to the
Third Dynasty Pharaoh
Djoser. Ancient Greece
of Western civilisation
largely thanks to its rich
cross-fertilisation of ideas
with Pharaonic Egypt.
The inherent capacity to
master nature and to harness
its potentials therefore already
exists in the African gene-pool. In
seeking to develop its technological
capability Africa will have to look into
its own inner resources while also
cooperating with others. Africa’s natural
resources are part of the heritage of
humanity. It is in everyone’s interest
to help Africa overcome its manifold
challenges; to build strong foundations for
sustainable economic development and
enhancedwelfare. Best practices could be
shared by liaising, networking, partnering
and collaborating with industrialized,
industrializing and other developing
countries. This will also facilitate the
deployment of internationally agreed
standards and method in the pursuance
of Africa’s technological objectives.
According to an African proverb, ‘a
stream cannot rise about its source.’ The
future of Africa and
indeed of the ACP family
of nations will be determined
largely by our ability to apply
knowledge and technological capability
to solving our practical problems, building
on indigenous knowledge systems and
through collective learning and innovation.
We in Africa are in that happy position
where our population is predominantly
youthful, energetic and vigorous. Tapping
into our endogenous knowledge systems
and the wisdom of our ancestors while
cooperating with the rest of the world
is the best way to build prosperous
societies that harmonise with nature
and with the rest of the human family to
which we belong.
Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas
Secretary General of the ACP Group
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