Not many people would think of satellite technology as something that is helpful for developing countries, but it is an investment that can help countries achieve more sustainable development. Satellites’ ability to connect and communicate is essential for developing countries, especially in rural areas. These advancements are a boon to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015.

Some specific ways that satellite technology can be used by developing countries are for communication in disaster areas, obtaining information about weather for use in agriculture and fishing and sharing medical information. By improving these areas, satellite technology can be used as one solution for many SDGs. For example, by using information gathered about agriculture and fisheries, satellites are assisting in the development of economies. In some countries, illegal fishing is a problem that satellite technology can help reduce, which improves the livelihoods and security of people in the fishing industry. Communication about healthcare (for general care or in disaster areas) and education improves people’s safety and gives them access to education.

Satellite technology is helping developing countries such as Indonesia and Nigeria. In Indonesia, the U.K. space agency Inmarsat has a program aimed at improving the management of the fishing industry, which is important to the economy in Indonesia. The program uses satellite-based tools on fishing boats in order for the government to collect data that can reduce illegal fishing practices, while also being a tool to relay information about the weather to fishermen that are out at sea.

In Nigeria, Inmarsat has launched another project that is benefiting healthcare systems. Satellite technology is being used in research institutions as well as the federal and state health centers. The research institutions are using satellite technology for data collection to see what needs to be improved. The health centers use satellite technology for communication, disease surveillance and video-based training for their staff.

By helping improve communication and data collection, satellites are a beneficial investment for the sustainable development of countries. The improvements that can be made to their economies as well as their healthcare systems can improve people’s security and save lives.

Deanna Wetmore

Photo: Flickr