Côte d’Ivoire and Africa in the space age

Building on the success of the conference organized on Saturday, June 15, 2019 on the theme: “The New Silk Roads and Africa: the case of Côte d’Ivoire” – in partnership with the Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Research in Peace, the district of Yamoussoukro and the National Polytechnic Institute Houphouët-Boigny (INPHB) – the Association for the Safeguarding and Promotion of Thought of El Hadj-Boubacar Gamby Sakho (ASPP-BGS) held on Friday, June 11 2021, a second conference on the theme: “Africa enters the space age: the case of Côte d’Ivoire”.

The conference was held in the Ufr of Medical Sciences of the Houphouët-Boigny University of Abidjan Cocody, in the Koffi Allangba amphitheater, in front of about 200 students and under the sponsorship of the Deputy of Yamoussoukro, Ahuili Naylor.

The round table, moderated by Dr Bamba, Doctor of International Relations at the University of Abidjan-Cocody and member of the ASPP-BGS, had the honor of bringing together astrophysicists and planetologists from several countries, respectively:

Sébastien Périmony (France), member of the Africa office of the Schiller Institute and author of the book and the strategic letter See Africa with the eyes of the future, on the theme: “Space, a scientific vector for economic development of a nation ” ;

Dr Marie Korsaga (Burkina Faso): first woman astrophysicist in West Africa, researcher on the distribution of dark matter and visible matter in galaxies and member of the International Astronomical Union, on the theme: “African youth embarks on space studies ”;

David Baratoux (France / Ivory Coast), planetologist at the Institute for Research and Development (IRD) at the University of Cocody, on the topic: “Space exploration of planets and Earth observation in economic development and social security of a country ”:

Maram Kairé (Senegal), former technical advisor in the office of the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Senegal, in charge of the Promotion and popularization of scientific culture and Relations with social actors and President of the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy (ASPA), on the theme: “The challenge of space and astronomy for an emerging Africa”.

The exciting speeches, covering both the economic issues of space and astronomy as well as the principle of discovery and scientific revolution, followed the introductory remarks by Dr Joseph Kobi, master of ceremonies and vice-president of the ASPP-BGS association; Boubacar Fofana, president of the ASPP-BGS association; and Mr. Deputy Ahuili Naylor. Dr Ackah, communications officer for the Ivorian Astronomical Association (AIA), also spoke.

Why such a subject? First, because the Association for the Safeguarding and Promotion of Thought of El Hadj Gamby Sakho aims to defend the dialogue of cultures, civilizations, Traditions and Sciences with a view to the progress of thought. And that the Ivory Coast, strong in the heritage of Houphouët-Boigny, must continue to develop the best of what is done in the field of science and technology, because they are a real lever for development. Many examples were given of the multiple applications of space on Earth and their contribution to sustainable development objectives: medicine, mining or aquifer detection, agriculture, security, the fight against gold mining or poaching, etc. Not to mention the related knowledge that astronomy or space can acquire. However, several African countries have already embarked on the space adventure, by sending their satellites or nano-satellites, sometimes “100% made in Africa”. And this, while the African Space Agency is being set up and the continent is the site of several international observation projects, including the SKA (Square Kilometer Array).

Then, because we have all been able to observe the enthusiasm and hope, especially among young people, that technological prowess such as that noted by the team of Arah Al Amiri (34 years old), director of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency during the recent launch of a satellite around Mars. Marie Korsaga was able to testify to her experience as a young woman in a field still predominantly occupied by men, while launching a vibrant appeal to the many students present in the room to take an interest in astrophysics. At the end, Maram Kairé issued the challenge: “I am sure that in 10, 15 or 30 years, one of the people in this assembly, or one of his children, will become an astronomer. ”

So, will Côte d’Ivoire become one of the future countries in Africa to launch its own nanosatellite? This is what the ASP-BGS hopes to bring about as a breakthrough in the times to come.

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