ADDIS ABABA, Up-to-date, accurate and authoritative geographically referenced geospatial information is imperative for the successful implementation of the strategy to sustain the rising Africa, says Ethiopia’s Deputy National Planning Commissioner, Getachew Adem.

In his opening remarks to the four-day AfricaGis 2017 Conference which began here Tuesday, Getachew said the effective utilization of geospatial and Earth Observation related technology to support economic development and poverty reduction is vital to drive Africa’s development agenda.

Getachew added that realizing the importance of this tool, Ethiopia recently re-established the Ethiopian Mapping Agency as the Ethiopian Geospatial Information Agency with enhanced mandates to build capacity. We are also strengthening our institutions of higher learning to enable capacity building for research and development efforts in geographic information systems, he said.

The Ethiopian Geospatial Information Agency’s Director-General, Sultan Mohammed, said African countries needed to use information efficiently and wisely to succeed in successfully implementing the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.

The conference is expected to identify key lessons and put forward recommendations on how geospatial and statistical information will influence and affect transformation process in Africa, he added.

The director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) African Centre for Statistics, Oliver Chinganya, said a major imperative in each African county is the commitment to deliver relevant information that promotes and sustain economic growth.

The new paradigm for development goes along with generating and disseminating diverse knowledge products to inform development decisions and track and monitor implementation, Chinganya added.

Some 65 per cent of African countries are using GIS, Remote Sensing and other geospatial solutions, tools and techniques in census and other mappings, he stated, adding that 44 per cent of them are developing national geo-information policies that are at various levels of progression in the establishment of a full operational national spatial data infrastructures.

More than 300 participants from across the continent are attending the conference.