Africa’s first female astronaut urges adoption of space technologies
Africa’s first woman in space is calling for regional and global efforts to enable more Africans to participate in space exploration.
Sara Sabry, Egyptian astronaut and founder of the Deep Space Initiative, pleaded with leaders to push the adoption of space technologies last week, saying this advances socio-economic transformation.
Sabry spoke during a panel on re-imagining Africa's future at the Africa50 Infra Forum in Togo’s capital Lomé.
She said: “It is important for Africa to sit at the table and be involved in space exploration. The demographic in space must reflect that of people on Earth.
"I don't think space should be such an exclusive club. To be the first at something is to kick down the door for others to follow."
Engineer Sabry became the first female African to head into space last year, courtesy of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
At the event in Lomé, she said: "It is important for Africa to build its capacity in space technology and gain its control.”
Experts believe satellite technology can have a positive impact on rapidly developing African countries by advancing weather forecasting, agriculture, navigation, and even banking and online education.
The use of space technologies is under the spotlight as policymakers, regulators, and the telecommunications industry agree that technology can be the catalyst to drive the developmental agenda.
Speaking at the event, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, said: "As a young African scientist, you give hope that young people can be in space despite the odds. It is often said that women can do what men can do, but I can say that women can do better than men."