ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- A lack of policy commitment and shortage of space policy are hindering the development of Africa's space science technology, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday.
The statement was made by Solomon Belay, Director-General of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, while addressing the 8th African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.
The event runs until Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa under the theme of "Prospects and Challenges of African Space Development."
"African space development has been facing many challenges, including lack of awareness, shortage of space policy and strategy as well as the political commitment of leaders," the director-general told the high-level space science-themed meeting.
According to Belay, Ethiopia, which will launch it's first-ever satellite later this month, has been harnessing space development in its far-reaching reforms.
He also emphasized the Ethiopian government's keen interest to collaborate with fellow African countries as well as space agencies for mutual benefits by better harnessing the potential of technologies in space science.
Ethiopia is presently developing the country's first-ever satellite, a 70kg Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing Satellite, known as ETRSS-1, through support from the Chinese government.
The satellite, which is set to be launched on Dec. 17 from China, will have its command and control center in Ethiopia at the Entoto space observatory facility -- East Africa's only space observatory facility located on the 3,200-meter hills of Entoto on the outskirt of the capital Addis Ababa, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology.
African Union (AU) Commission Director for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Mahama Ouedraogo, stressed the need to exert concerted efforts among African countries towards the development of viable space programs, which he described as scarce in most the AU member countries.
"We have seen how space programs have suffered from the absence of a coordinated approach that would yield outputs in terms of know-how, resource, and management," Ouedraogo said.
The continental conference on space science and technology for sustainable development, among other things, deliberates on space programs in Africa, space research and development, space policy, strategy and implementation and participation of the youth and women in aerospace.