The Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, will Tuesday host a regional seminar on “Geographical information as one of the keys to economic development in Africa”, PANA learnt from organizers Monday.
The seminar is being put together by the IGN France International and its parent body, the French IGN (National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information), the Geographical Institute of Burkina Faso (IGB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
A press statement by the African Press Organization, on behalf of the organizers, said the theme of the seminar is “National Spatial Data Infrastructures: which benefits for African emerging countries?”
The statement said the seminar would take place at a time when numerous African countries, becoming increasingly aware that geographical information is one of the keys to economic development, are commissioning national infrastructure projects on geographical data.
Several countries such as Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso or Nigeria appear as the precursors, even though progress remains to be accomplished in Africa in terms of awareness of the importance of geographical information.
Organizers said “Once this is taken on, it actually makes it possible to improve the competitive standing of State and private sector services, facilitates decision making at the highest level, optimises public expenditure and, generally speaking, reinforces good governance.
“But, while wishing to bring these projects to a satisfactory outcome, most countries are finding it difficult to mobilise the necessary resources at financial, technical or human levels. The driving role that must be played at the highest level in politics, and also the reticence found, are difficulties which are often underestimated.
“This regional exhibition, which will bring together top-ranking decision makers from more than 15 African countries and representatives of the major funding providers on this subject, will be interested in the different issues to be taken into consideration so that these very ambitious projects can take off successfully. The witnesses of several African countries will enrich the exchanges.
“While enhancing the experience of those who have already undertaken a voluntary position in this field, the seminar will therefore encourage the sharing of experiences. It will also make it possible to highlight the road to be followed on the different essential phases that characterise these projects, from design to commissioning, and finally, it will allow us to explore the point of view of Europe, which initiated this very consideration a few years ago with the commissioning of the Inspire directive.”
It said that in addition to the decision makers in Burkina Faso, delegations of several African countries, including Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Guinea and Uganda, have already confirmed their participation.
The participation of the Burkinabe Minister of Infrastructures and Access, Mr. Ouedraogo, the French Ambassador in Burkina Faso, and the chief of the Delegation of the European Union in Burkina Faso will be among the highlights of the event.
IGN France International was created in 1986 as the international subsidiary of the French IGN (National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information).
Over the years, the company has shown itself to be an indispensable player in both of its sectors of intervention: geographic information (acquisition, processing, modelling) and geographic information systems (implementation and integration).
It works on all types of projects in the following fields: Cadastre and land administration, urban planning, energy, environment, risk management, water, security/precision work, agriculture.