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Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa
higher education with emphasis on science and technology. Despite the difficulties African universities face, they remain vital to the generation of new knowledge and have the potential for organizational capacity building. The application of geographic information to sustainable development will depend on the quality, character, and direction of university education in Africa. There is an urgent need to coordinate and strengthen the capacity of university departments providing both research and training in geographic information science.
Recommendation: African universities should become a focus for capacity-building including training and research in geographic information science, and development organizations should coordinate their efforts to achieve this goal.
Conclusion: A cadre of well-trained individuals will need to be formed in each country to apply geographic data and information in support of sustainable development in Africa.
Recommendation: Continuing and on-the-job training should become an integral part of the process of enhancing geospatial capacity. Organizations that provide professional training in geographic information sciences, such as regional centers and polytechnics, should be strengthened.
Geographic data lie at the heart of many Agenda 21 issues. These data are already in use in a growing geographic information community in Africa. Although there exist a number of barriers to effective application of geographic data to Agenda 21 issues, it is likely that demand for these data will quicken the pace toward the disappearance of these barriers.
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