ACCRA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Ghana is preparing to launch a 32- meter telescope which will be part of the network of African Radio Astronomy telescopes, Joseph Oteng-Agyei, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, announced here on Tuesday.
It will be used for hi-tech scientific research and perhaps the future planet discoveries as well as give career opportunities to students in pure science and engineering, the minister added.
Opening the three-day Fifth African Leadership Conference (ALC) on Space Science and Technology here the minister explained that the trickle-down effect of such sustainable national initiatives was on job creation and improving the living conditions of the people.
Vodafone Ghana had earlier donated a satellite dish used previously for communications to the infant Space Science and Technology center opened here May last year to be used to launch the telescope.
Oteng-Agyei explained that the launching of the 32 meter telescope as well as the launching of other such national telescopes across the continent would give the world a clear signal that Ghana was committed to the implementation of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project as a partner country.
The minister lauded South Africa for the support it continues to give Ghana in the development of its space science technology.
For African countries such as Ghana, the race to space is not a competitive battle by our nations for scientific superiority. But it is an essential tool for socio-economic development and improving the quality of life of our people," the minister maintained.
He added that the practical and technical advantage is to use space technologies for monitoring and communication.
The minister later told Xinhua in an interview that the individual African countries would like to use the launch of their national telescopes as a prelude to the SKA which South Africa, supported by other African countries, has won the bid to develop and host.
The ALC is a cross-regional space organization that seeks to harness space science and technology for the betterment of the human condition in Africa.
It brings together African countries such as Ghana, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, Botswana, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. It also has exhibitions from the various space agencies of Japan, France and Britain in addition to the African countries.
Africa has peculiar problems in health, planning of communities, natural resource management, improper practices among others, said Prof. Francis Allotey President of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"There is the need to find solutions to some of these problems by African scientists and engineers using space science and technology as these problems hinder economic growth of most countries on the continent," he urged.
The renowned scientist who is also Interim President of African Institute of Mathematical Sciences therefore welcomed the conference for bringing together the experts in the field of space science and technology to begin to find solutions to Africa's problems.