Leveraging Space Technologies to Achieve SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. To effectively monitor progress on SDG 9, the United Nations has developed eight targets and 12 indicators. Five of the targets are results-oriented, while the other three are the means to achieve those targets.

The five targets are results targets:

  • Develop sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure;
  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization;
  • Increase access to financial services and markets;
  • Upgrade all industries and infrastructure for sustainability; and
  • Improve research and modernize industrial technologies.

The three ways to achieve the goal:

  • Facilitate the development of sustainable infrastructure for developing countries;
  • Support national technological development and industrial diversification;
  • Significantly increase access to information and communication technologies and provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in the least developed countries.
The role of space technology in industry, innovation and infrastructure development in Africa

Africa’s goal of building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation can be achieved by leveraging space technologies. In addition, infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization are key drivers of growth. As a result, industrialized countries benefit from diversified economic bases and lower costs for doing business. Although there has been progress over the past two decades [across Africa], developing countries as a group are still lagging behind in terms of infrastructure development.

Here are some examples of how space technologies have been harnessed to achieve SDG 9.

  • Internet access
  • Mapping and monitoring of infrastructure, including maintenance of rural road infrastructure, where the most reliable technology is satellite-based
Internet access

Several African countries have taken advantage of satellite technology to improve Internet connectivity, especially in rural and underserved areas. But, more importantly, satellite internet provides much-needed reliable broadband connectivity which will have a positive impact on businesses and communities in Africa. For example, through the Eutelsat and Facebook partnership to expand Wi-Fi connectivity in Africa, local businesses can provide affordable internet access to prepaid customers. Nowadays, Eutelsat’s Wi-Fi Express platform enabled access to affordable broadband to thousands of people across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With Express Wi-Fi, Eutelsat aims to connect thousands of people across rural and underserved communities in 12 African countries.

In addition, Nigeria has long recognized the role of satellite technology in its ICT sector. To this end, it launched its first communications satellite, NigComSat-1, in 2003. NigComSat-1 provided the ICT backbone required for geospatial data sharing and improved access in Nigeria and most parts of the country. Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In addition, Algeria, Angola and Egypt have also communications satellites launched to allow communication between very remote geographic regions.

In addition to bridging the connectivity gap, space technologies have also been used to improve the education sector in Africa. The covid 19 pandemic has further accentuated the importance of satellite technology in the education sector. For example, around one million Kenyan children could not go to school due to distance and poverty. To mitigate the challenges, Avanti, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), sQuid, Whiz Education and Camara Education have collaborated to create a online learning platform, nicknamed the “Imlango Project”. Likewise, Intelsat has partnered with coreNOC, Audio Union International, KM Systems and the government of the Dominican Republic to provide cost effective products, high-speed Internet in rural areas of the country as part of a nationwide wireless infrastructure and internet system for the Ministry of Education.

Innovation and infrastructure development

One of the main goals that Africans have sought to achieve by adopting space technologies is to improve scientific, technological and technical innovation in space-related activities and other sectors in the long term. For example, Fastagger Kenya is also leveraging geospatial data to develop an AI-as-a-service (AIaas) platform to accelerate adoption of AI applications in Africa providing contextual data on the continent and helping entities develop use cases of bespoke AI applications. Additionally, the startup’s AlaaS platform includes image annotation services for AI-based businesses across multiple industries, including healthcare, energy, financial services, industry, and healthcare. Agriculture. In addition, in Rwanda, DMM.HeHe is leading a digital revolution with space technology. The start-up uses space technology to provide end-to-end logistics solutions and connect farmers to their customers. With a focus on supply chain optimization, Hehe built an end-to-end supply chain platform that mapped all processes of post-production or post-harvest operations. . Additionally, the startup has developed relevant technologies to help with logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, consumer-centric platforms, and digital payment. Essentially, the company has created a link between these sectors without necessarily building new technologies from scratch.

Due to the ever-increasing consumption of animal protein in sub-Saharan Africa, South African agricultural technology start-up XY Analytics is capitalizing on the $ 350 million African cattle market by offering satellite pasture optimization and a IoT herd management tool for cattle breeders. The tool leverages geospatial data to monitor the health, movement, reproductive status and location of livestock. XY analytics has developed two cutting-edge products: Melusi Connect and SimplyGraze.

Melusi Connect is an app that uses an IoT device attached to a cow’s ear to collect real-time critical health information such as body temperature, blood pressure, noise, respiratory rate, heart rate, among others. This data is then sent to the cloud for processing by a machine learning engine that generates information and recommendations about the individual animal. In addition, the app provides crisp messaging alerts accessible to small and emerging farmers. [both educated and illiterate cattle farmers]. Likewise, SimplyGraze is specially designed to help farmers manage and improve pasture quality by analyzing satellite images of the specific pasture. The system analyzes pastures to determine the vegetation index of the pasture, water availability, mineral and vitamin content.

In conclusion, it is clear that space technologies and space solutions are essential to ensure rapid infrastructure development in Africa. Therefore, it is imperative that governments create the enabling environment to ensure that ideas are quickly and easily transformed into tangible products and solutions capable of enhancing Africa’s sustainable development.

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