Kenya’s Defence Cabinet Secretary Mr. Aden Duale Wednesday lauded the Italian government for establishing an international centre for space education in Kenya. He said the centre that is domiciled within the San Marco Luigi Broglio Space Centre in Ngomeni, Kilifi County, was an important facility in training Kenyan engineers and others in the region in ground station and space operations. Speaking when he accompanied Italian Mr. President Sergio Mattarella on a tour of the space centre, Duale said Kenya would leverage on the presence of the facility to build her capacity in space technology in order to realize her socio-economic development aspirations. He said the centre held a special place in the two countries’ diplomatic and strategic relations, forming a strong bond that ties the two nations together. ‘This space centre holds a special place in our diplomatic and strategic relations and a strong bond that ties us together. We appreciate the establishment of the international center for space education as an important facility in training our engineers and others from the region in ground station and space operations,’ he said. The CS said he hoped that the training at the centre would extend to other competencies including the development of the application for earth observation. He said Kenya would like to leverage on the presence of the centre and the good relations it enjoys to truly build her capacity and realize her aspiration as a developing and emerging space authority through a win-win partnership with Italy. Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro appealed to both the Italian and Kenyan governments to ensure that the San Marco Luigi Broglio Space Center benefits both countries equally, and that the local community is not be left out. ‘As a government and an institution, we should do more especially for the people of this region. This station has been here for long since 1967 but very little has been done for the benefit of the local community despite numerous promises being made by the Italian Government,’ he said. Among the promises the Italian government is yet to fulfill is the construction of an eleven-kilometer Mjanaheri-Ngomeni road which leads to the internationally acclaimed space centre where satellite rockets are launched and monitored. ‘From 1972 when the station started, there have been very many promises. We need to have better facilities in this county for both Kenyans and visitors and we need to engage the government very seriously on the matter so that we know where the management of the center can help develop,’ he added. The Chairman of the Kenya Space Agency (KSA), Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa, said that the space center had started benefiting the Kenyan people through training in space technology. ‘The support of the Italian Space Agency to the Kenya Space Agency for human capacity building, infrastructure support, sharing of space derived data on day time digits will go a long way in contributing to our social economic development as well as strengthening bilateral relations and the bonds that exist between us as friendly countries,’ he said. In a speech through an interpreter, the Italian President commended Kenya for the gesture of hosting the space station, saying that the two countries will continue to collaborate in many areas of development. ‘This centre is so important first of all because it intensifies the friendship between Kenya and Italy and it testifies to the strong collaboration between our countries. This centre was created following Kenya’s independence and this is a sign of maturity on your side,’ he said.
Source: Kenya News Agency