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The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) signed an agreement with the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) on June 20 on the procurement of satellite imagery equipment. The satellite imagery equipment to be procured at a cost of around 3.2 million Euros is expected to aid the availability of disaggregated population data in the country.

Making remarks on the signing of the agreement, Monique Rakotomalala, Country Representative of UNFPA to Ethiopia noted that “the reason that the UNFPA decided to commit such an amount of money to procure the satellite imagery equipment is its strong interest to help CSA in its data collection and we will make our best to make the equipment available to the CSA in the shortest time possible”. Monique went on to say that the UNFPA will recruit a technical person who will be working with the CSA on the operation of the equipment.

Yacob Mudeser, Acting Deputy Director and Chairman of the Technical Committee with the CSA, indicated that the equipment will very much his agency's work in data collection and noted that it would become very useful in the census activities to be held in the pastoralist regions of Afar and Somali in November later this year.

In the short term the satellite imagery equipment is expected to serve such purposes as preparing appropriate scale image map of the interest areas in general and pastoral areas in particular; preparing near real time data which helps in tracing the settlements trend and location of the pastoral communities; and to have information about inaccessible areas. 
In the long term it is expected that the satellite imagery would expedite technology transfer in census application; use of this same data for other related applications economically; and develop ways and means that help in establishing inter-agency agreements on regulations on geo-spatial information processing and dissemination.

The satellite imagery is also anticipated to be a valuable national asset, able to underpin a whole range of other national, regional and local governance activities, as well as other issues such as food security, provision of health services, planning of housing, water supplies and transportation infrastructure to support the urbanization process in Ethiopia .

The satellite imagery equipment will be provided by the MAPS Geo-systems company based in Germany .