South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, will host the 5th Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) projects African Ministerial Forum meeting in Cape Town tomorrow, 16 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The annual meeting of SKA African partner countries brings together science and technology ministers and senior officials from South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Mauritius.

The main aim of the SKA/AVN African Ministerial Forum is to provide political and strategic leadership on matters pertaining to the SKA and AVN projects and other relevant radio astronomy initiatives.

This year's meeting takes place under the theme, "5 years of partnership through the annual SKA/AVN African Ministerial Forum meeting – a time to celebrate, reflect and ponder the future".

Last year's meeting took place in Accra, Ghana and coincided with the launch of the Kutunse Radio Telescope at the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory by the President of Ghana.

Ghana was the first SKA/AVN African partner country to complete the conversion of a redundant communications antenna into a functioning radio telescope. Since its launch, the 32 metre antenna has successfully demonstrated that it can operate as a single dish radio telescope and as part of global very long baseline interferometry network.

The Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation collaborated with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory to make the Kutunse Radio Telescope a reality.

The discussion at this year's SKA/AVN African Ministerial Forum will focus on advances in respect of the SKA, AVN and other radio astronomy programmes as the combined effort to grow astronomy on the continent gains momentum.

The media are invited to the open sessions of the event as follows:

Opening of the Ministerial Forum meeting

Date:    16 October 2018

Time:    08:30 – 09:20 (opening ceremony)

09:25 – 09:35 (media Q&A)

Venue:    Meeting Room 1.60 - Plenary Venue, Cape Town International Convention Centre

For more information, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750 or Julian Leshilo at 060 961 2194.

Media enquiries, Hlengiwe Nhlabathi

Media Liaison Officer

Ministry of Science and Technology

064 754 8426

Issued by the Department of Science and Technology