China and Africa will strengthen their communication and cooperation in promoting and using the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, according to participants at an international forum that was held in Beijing on Friday.
Officials, industry leaders and researchers from China, several African nations and the African Union shared their thoughts at the First China-Africa Beidou System Cooperation Forum and agreed to take advantage of the Beidou system to further social and economic development in Africa.
He Yubin, chairman of the China Satellite Navigation Committee, said at the forum that his committee is willing to share its experience and expertise in Beidou's applications with Africa and work with African countries to design Beidou-based solutions for their socioeconomic development.
"China will join hands with Africa to promote Beidou-based services on the continent to foster local industries and businesses and help to create more jobs and reduce poverty," he said.
Xu Hongliang, secretary-general of China National Space Administration, said that his administration is dedicated to sharing China's space achievements with Africa to nurture the continent's science and technology. It is also determined to improve space industry professionals' exchanges and training to facilitate African countries' efforts to grow their own space capabilities.
Yang Changfeng, Beidou's chief architect, read a document at the forum about both sides' vision for promoting cooperation in Beidou applications.
Yang Dongpeng, a senior researcher at the China Satellite Navigation Office, said Beidou can be used in a wide range of public and commercial sectors in Africa.
"It has huge potential in at least 10 fields such as road transportation, railway management, agriculture, land mapping and survey, urban construction as well as wildlife protection," he said at the forum, adding that many African enterprises have benefited from their use of Beidou-based products or services.
Representatives from nearly 50 African nations, including eight government ministers and eight ambassadors to China, took part in the event.
Mahama Ouedraogo, the African Union Commission's director of human resources, science and technology, said Beidou will become a major tool in Africa's development and he looks forward to closer collaboration with China in giving access to satellite navigation to more users on the continent to inject new momentum into local economies.
Beidou is China's largest space-based system and one of four global navigation networks, along with the United States' GPS, Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo.
In June last year, the final satellite to complete Beidou's third-generation network was lifted by a Long March 3B carrier rocket launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province and was placed into a geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth. The next month, President Xi Jinping announced that the system had been completed and had started providing full-scale global services.
Since 2000, a total of 59 Beidou satellites, including the first four experimental ones, have been launched from Xichang on 44 Long March 3-series rockets, with some of them having been retired.
Beidou began providing positioning, navigation, timing and messaging services to civilian users in China and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. At the end of 2018, it started providing basic global services.