African Union Commission (AUC), the secretariat of the African Union, in partnership with some partners is pleased to announce that the first African Space Week will be taking place this year in Nairobi, Kenya. The event will bring together all the African space industry stakeholders, including decision-makers, solutions/services providers, and end-users.
In 2013, the African Union adopted the Africa Agenda 2063 as the main compass to guide its strategic focus for the following 50 years. The African scientific community has developed Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) as the scientific implementation leg of the Agenda 2063. Both the Agenda 2063 underscore the critical role of space in addressing development challenges, and hence identified an African Outer Space programme as one of the flagships. This is also well reflected in the pillars of STISA-2024. This is a strong indication from the highest authorities to stamp their commitment to an African coordinated space process.
Since then, the Commission has continually engaged the African space actors through the development of the African Space Policy, the African Space strategy, the Statute for the establishment of an African Space Agency, and the Republic of Egypt’s choice to host the African Space Agency. In the same vein, the Commission has continued engaging through several African space working groups and stakeholders dialogue meetings. On the occasion of the third African Space Dialogue meeting in Dakar, Senegal (12-14 June 2019) stakeholders proposed that the Commission consider an annual forum for African space industry including the public and private sector, academia, non-profit organisations, etc.
The organisation of African Space Week indicates how the African space industry has grown and the commitment of the African Union to a coordinated space process. Currently worth about USD 7.37 billion according to the African Space Industry Report analysis by Space in Africa, the industry is expected to grow over USD 10 billion by 2024. African Space Week will strengthen all African space efforts, including the African Space Policy, African Space Strategy, and the African Space Agency. It will also be structured to promote and enable intra-Africa and international collaborations on space activities.
Notably, the objectives of African Space Week are to:
- Build a community of space actors that will continuously engage and raise awareness on the importance of space;
- Provide a platform for strengthening intra-Africa and international collaborations on space activities;
- Provide capacity development opportunities to nurture competencies of African space managers, experts, researchers, and professionals across public and private sectors, as well as civil societies, students, youth, and women in space domains;
- Introduce a dialogue for resource mobilisation to support the African space industry.
Two days before the main event, a pre-main event programme was designed mainly for policymakers, development agencies, and the diplomatic community. It will feature two streams:
- A climax of TEDx talks on space in Africa.
- Capacity building on space policy, law and regulatory instruments.
Over the five-day period that Africa Space Week will hold, Agora Talks, keynote speeches, interactive sessions, plenaries, panel discussions, parallel working groups, side-events, and exhibitions will be held. During the main event, each of the four segments of space (namely Earth observation, navigation and positioning, satellite communication, and astronomy and space science) will be discussed in five thematic subjects:
- Policy, strategy, law and regulation;
- Governance, partnerships, funding and all resources mobilisation mechanisms;
- Synergy for efficient programmes development and implementation on services;
- Capacity building and utilisation (infrastructure and human capital development) with a focus on academia;
- Private sector: challenges and opportunities.
The following results are anticipated to arise from the African Space Week gathering:
- African decision-makers and space community and stakeholders understand more, the importance of space in African daily lives. Specifically they:
- Have discovered and identified potential use of space applications and tools for the sustainable socio-economic development of Africa and, the necessity and challenges related to the African space capabilities including data, infrastructure and human capital development and utilization;
- Have understood the different Outer Space related Treaties & Conventions and other policy and regulatory instruments that have an impact on their responsibilities and that guide their decision-making process and activities;
- Are strengthened for efficient International cooperation for the benefit of the African citizens.
- African space community and partners understood the necessity of collaboration in the space arena in:
- Building on the success stories and the existing efficient programmes and projects;
- Involving the private sector, academia and civil society.
- African space stakeholders have had opportunities to strengthen and enhance their competencies and know-how in space science applications, policy, law and regulatory instruments and governance.
- A sustainable community of practice for the policymakers and development agencies
African Space Week is free. Private and public sector professionals, government officials and representatives, space agencies and national space institutions, professional networks, international and regional organisations, and space industry enthusiasts can register here to attend the conference.
Participants can register here.
Africa Space Week has been postponed to 19-25 June 2021.