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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to collaborate with Kenya to boost food security

The announcement was made at a High-Level convening of African leaders, in Nairobi Kenya./AFP

Nairobi, Kenya, Jun 29 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Kenya’s budding data lab at Strathmore University to provide real-time information on crop types, agricultural insurance, and weather.

This comes hot on the heels when Kenya is recovering from the effects of the severe drought that curtailed crop production, increased food prices, strained the economy and killed thousands of herds especially in the Northern part of Kenya. The drought has also been blamed for the pockets of arson attacks that have been witnessed in sections of Laikipia County.

The drought which has been partly blamed for the highest inflation rate it has been since May 2012 stood at 11.48% in April 2017 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The announcement was made at a High-Level convening of African leaders, in Nairobi Kenya. Organised by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), the event brought together government leaders from Kenya, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Senegal and Ghana.

Speaking at the event, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto emphasised the importance of accessible and accurate data for decision making.

“We are a forward-looking region, which requires timely, accessible and accurate data for the informational aspects of our decision-making. With ‘Data for Development in Africa’ we are signalling our intent to lead other developing economies to secure better futures and leave no one behind,” said Mr Ruto.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, who attended the event, hailed the growing data revolution in Africa.

‘I am proud to represent a growing movement of African enterprises who see social as well as economic value in data,’ said Collymore.

Victor BockarieFoh, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone reaffirmed the commitment to the High-Level Forum.

“The Government of Sierra Leone strongly supports this High-Level forum and is scaling up its commitment to support global paths to sustainable development by 2030. Despite being a post-conflict nation that has weathered health and economic crises, we have intensified efforts to develop and implement data-led development plans,” he said.

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At the same event, Kenya also committed to champion the development of an Intergovernmental Network on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition. This network will nurture an inclusive multi-stakeholder ecosystem to boost the capacity of small-scale farmers to use data to improve productivity and increase youth engagement in agri-business.

Also, the network will be used to provide data to strengthen capacities of statistical departments in Ministries of Agriculture by increasing financial allocations and human capacity.

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the Governments of Kenya and Sierra Leone, and Safaricom hosted ‘Data for Development in Africa’ the first day of the event today, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the Governments of Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania.

African countries made commitments in the fields of business, agriculture, civil registration, health, migration, and data capacity.

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