Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Eugene Wamalwa on Friday 17th June 2022 closed the three-day Kenya Space Expo and Conference by imploring the youths in the country and the region to tap into the various opportunities in the growing space sector.
Speaking during the last day of the inaugural conference in Nairobi, the CS urged the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) to continue working with ministries, county governments, state departments and agencies to ensure that Kenya continues nurturing the sector to make the country a regional hub for innovation.
The forum was hosted by the KSA, a State Corporation under the Ministry of Defence and brought together key players and stakeholders in the space sector among them government ministries, departments and agencies, policymakers, academia, local and international companies and investors. There were also representatives from space agencies and international organizations, and industry professionals from over 30 countries across the globe.
Hon. Wamalwa exuded confidence that the expo had, to a great extent, achieved its intended objectives and had placed Kenya on the right trajectory to achieve the theme of “Leveraging Space Capabilities for National Development”.
He lauded the partnership between KSA and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) in developing the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in an international effort to build the world’s largest radio astronomy observatory.
He noted that, with the right exploration and exploitation of this critical sector, Kenya is likely to achieve Vision 2030 way earlier and position herself as an industrialized, middle-income country that shall provide a clean and secure environment to its citizenry.
On the sidelines of the conference, KSA signed two cooperation frameworks, with AfriCultuReS that seeks to enhance food security in the country, and Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) aimed at enhancing entrepreneurial activities among start-ups in the African Space ecosystem.
The CS was taken through the various exhibition booths to view the technologies, applications and innovations being showcased during the expo.
The Chairperson of the Board of Directors Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa thanked the various participants for their attendance saying they had been encouraged to be organizing such forums on an annual basis to address the trends in the industry.
He said the conference was anchored on five thematic areas namely; Earth Observation, Space Engineering, Space Economy, Astronomy and Space Science as well as Education and Outreach which were highly successful.
“It was evident from the discussions held that there is now widespread utilisation of applications in Kenya and there is need to upscale and at the same time stretch to wider areas of our nation. It is incumbent upon the government and the private sector to make the necessary investments to be able to reap from space science and technologies as well as harnessing the large unexploited potential of the space economy,” said Maj Gen Aruasa.
KSA Acting Director General Colonel Hillary Kipkosgey assured participants that the Agency commits to invest in human and capacity building pillars to create a sustainable space industry.
“We had intended to create national awareness by showcasing benefits of space science, technologies and applications in our national socio-economic developments and to nurture our Kenya space ecosystem that is responsive to the needs of our country and we strongly believe we met these objectives,” said the acting DG.
He affirmed that KSA has given a platform to the highly energetic, skilled and innovative youth to tell their stories and aspirations as well as to explore opportunities in the space industry.
Colonel Kipkosgey stated that the Agency shall continue to venture into more mutually beneficial partnerships with other industry players and other agencies across the region to take a stake in the important sector.