The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has been at the forefront of promoting science technology and innovation as the key to Africa’s economic renaissance. It was therefore reward time for the UN body when it’s director of the ICT, Science & Technology Division Ms. Aida Opoku-Mensah was conferred with the ‘Geospatial World Leadership Award for Making a Difference’ at this year’s Geospatial World Forum held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Opoku-Mensah was among professionals, entrepreneurs, organisations, programmes and academic institutions selected by Geospatial World Magazine as having made significant contribution towards development of geographic information science, technology, products, applications, capacity development and in turn helped towards the growth of the geospatial industry as well as making geographic information a public commodity.
They were selected from nominations and recommendations made by patrons and members of the Advisory Board of Geospatial World magazine, who noted that over the past many years, Opoku-Mensah has “been a great advocate of geospatial technology in Africa and has provided leadership to several very valuable programs and initiatives leading to capacity development of African countries with reference to geospatial competence and infrastructure, including promoting the UN GGIM initiative in Africa”.
The Board stated that Opoku-Mensah’s “pro-active engagement with the geospatial community including academic institutions, policy makers, mapping agencies, the geospatial industry and end users has paved way for meaningful collaboration and cooperation amongst them for overall development of the continent.”
Opoku-Mensah is responsible for ECA’s activities in Africa in the field of Geoinformation, Science, Technology and Innovation and Information Society. She is currently spearheading ECA’s work in the area of scientific development and the knowledge economy in Africa. She had earlier been a team leader for the Development Information Services Division of ECA and has also worked for the Ford Foundation’s West Africa office in Lagos, Nigeria. She established the Panos Southern Africa regional office in Lusaka, Zambia, and was its first director. Opoku-Mensah has also lectured at London’s City University on Communication Policy. Besides having written for various publications, she has worked as a reporter covering African political, economic and social issues for the BBC World Service for Africa and Radio Nederlands International – the Dutch World Service.