The United States government has committed to helping Sub-Saharan African countries expand their weather station network.
The commitment includes a Ksh.1.3 billion from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).
According to the White House communique, the programme will first be enrolled in Kenya before spreading into other 10 countries in the region for the next five years.
“These partnerships will support governments to develop or fortify the capability to report weather station data and integrate this information with Earth observations to improve climate, weather, and acute food insecurity forecasts,” reads the statement from Washington.
President Joe Biden’s administration is concerned about hundreds of lives being lost in the region, with Washington saying USAID’s investment will trickle down to dire areas such as health and agriculture.
Other areas where the investment will benefit include water, sanitation and hygiene, and climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
This expansion of FEWS NET will help the region and the international community to monitor the rapidly changing climate on the planet and support early warning systems for climate hazards and acute food insecurity.
The Ksh.1.3 billion commitment was announced on the sidelines of US Vice President Kamala Harris’s tour in Zambia.
She left for Washington on April 1 after concluding her week-long stay in Africa.
US investment comes when Kenya has already secured a deal with the US billionaire Elon Musk to have first 3U Earth Observation Satellite operational by April 11, 2023.
The satellite launch will occur in Vndenberg Base, California, IDA abroad Falcon-9 rocket.
In a communication, Monday, both the Kenya Space Agency (KSA) and the Ministry of Defense said the mission will play a pivotal role in putting Kenya on the global map because it contributes significantly to the growth of satellite development, data analysis and processing and development of applications.
“Space is the next frontier in many ways and we are happy to be part of this. This is our moment of pride,” said Kenya’s Acting director of KSA Brig Hillary Kipkosgey.