AfricaGIS 2019 | Conference Summary
At least 500 delegates from around the world convened in Kigali at the University of Rwanda for the 16th edition of AfricaGIS, the first of which was held in 1993.
Hosted and organized by EIS-Africa and the University of Rwanda through its Centre for GIS and Remote Sensing, the conference explored the role of innovations in geospatial information and its implication in addressing the 17 SDGs targets for an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable African continent. The biennial conference contributes to the development of skills and institutional capacity across the continent.
The conference was officiated by Hon. Paula Ingabire the Rwanda Minister of ICT and Innovation. Speaking on the occasion, Paula noted that the conference is in line with the Government set objectives to place digital technologies and innovation as a priority but also as key drivers for economic growth. She also stated that the country understands the potential of GIS and geospatial data to strengthen land administration and management among others while supporting Government decision making.
“Today Geospatial data is used by multiple public institutions for either better management of their data or through supporting decision making in different domains such as public health, education, transportation, urban planning, agriculture to mention but a few,” said Paula, adding that GIS will be instrumental for the success for Rwanda vision 2050 next chapter.
Sives Govender, the EIS-Africa executive director, commented that the conference is about learning, collaborating, sharing and building networks for future partnership. He believes that the community of experts and scientists are the ones to provide scientific sound information to support decision making. Govender called on conference participants to use their experience and look at innovative ways to meet social economic and development challenges which will ultimately improve the lives of people.
A team of experts from the GMES and Africa programme of the African Union Commission were among some of the delegates attending. The Commission is among the leading supporters of the conference, which is in conjunction with the mandate of the Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security and Africa (GMES and Africa). The Coordinator of GMES and Africa and Space Science Expert at the African Union Commission, Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, addressed the conference theme “Innovation in Geospatial Technologies for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Africa”.
Dr. Ouattara said the theme resonates with the aspirations of the African Agenda 2063, and dwelt on how Africa is facing the dynamics, challenges and imperatives of technological innovation to uplift the living conditions of people on the continent.
The conference attracted delegates from 40 countries with a full five-day agenda, including pre-conference workshops and an exhibition which included various organisations showcasing latest trends in geospatial technology.
In his remarks, Prof Phill Cotton, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda commended the people behind the organization of the conference. He added that GIS community is made of dedicated people who are leading the way in assisting the nation and its people to make informed decisions and do their things properly.