African Renaissance Fund puts R120 mil into SKA project

Pretoria – South Africa’s cabinet has welcomed the R120 million funding from the African Renaissance Fund for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project to construct a network of single dish antennae called the African Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) Network.

South Africa and its eight African partner countries in the SKA will also use the funds to leverage additional funding from global partnerships.

The African VLBI Network funding will provide the SKA African partner countries with seed funding to build one radio telescope in each country, and grow an expertise base that will participate in the SKA construction, operations and astronomy research.

In a statement released after its ordinary meeting, the cabinet said the SKA African partner countries will meet in September, for the first time since the bid announcement, to develop a joint strategic direction in light of winning the right to host two-thirds of the SKA.

In addition, the partner countries will craft mechanisms to develop a research programme for the African European Radio Astronomy Platform. The platform has received support from members of the European Parliament. – SAnews