AGEOS is Driving the Development of Gabon’s National Space Policy and It’s First Satellite

AGEOS Headquarters - Libreville. Image taken in 2015

Gabon remains one of the few francophone countries in Africa with a space program. The Central African country retains strong ties to France and to the French language and culture. The capital is Libreville where Agence Gabonaise d’Etudes et d’Observations Spatiales/Gabonese Studies and Space Observations Agency (AGEOS) is located; the institution driving space program in the country. AGEOS is a fully public institution, and its budget comes from the state. For four years now, the agency has developed activities to generate revenue, particularly on projects and activities at the national level.

AGEOS main mission is to implement the government’s policy regarding the acquisition, processing and analysis of EO data for the sustainable development, environmental management, natural resources, land use, land-use planning as well as research and innovation. The agency maintains a USGS Landsat ground station in Libreville and in 2018, AGEOS completed the mapping of Gabon’s forest cover (23.59 million hectares and 88.97% of the territory).
Space in Africa had a chat with Dr Aboubakar Mambimba Ndjoungui, Deputy General Manager of AGEOS to understand the current status of the country’s space program development.
Dr Aboubakar Mambimba Ndjoungui Deputy General Manager Gabonese Space Agency AGEOS Ndjoungui
Dr Aboubakar Mambimba Ndjoungui at the 3rd African Space Stakeholders Dialogue in Dakar, Senegal

What are the ongoing projects at AGEOS?

AGEOS has three main projects in progress which are:

  • RARS (Regional Advanced Retransmission System): This is a project led by the ACMAD in which four designed African countries (GABON, NIGER, South Africa and  Kenya)  will be receiving Low Earth Orbiting Satellite data to generate products that can be used for Disaster Risk Reduction modelling and the weather resilience in Africa.
  • CAFI (Central African Forest Initiative): the objective is to fight climate change, protect forests, reduce poverty and contribute to sustainable development.
  • GMES & Africa: The objective is to address the growing needs of African countries to access and use of Earth Observation data for the implementation of sustainable development policies on the continent. The main thematic lead by AGEOS in Central Africa Region is forest monitoring and assessment.

How has the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic affected your operations?

Operations were slowed down and project delayed due to COVID-19. On-site missions such as data collection, formation or equipment’s acquisition for specific activities were the most impacted, which resulted in delayed data deliveries, particularly for the ongoing project. As a result, AGEOS has decided to postponed all upcoming projects until the situation gets better and to focus mainly on the day to day operations and actual project to avoid big delayed.

AGEOS is part of the consortium implementing the GMES & Africa project, how far along have you gone with your project?

As part of the GMES & Africa project, AGEOS has just completed Gabon and Equatorial Guinea land’s cartography occupation. Land’s maps of Burundi, Chad and Cameroon are in progress. In Parallel, AGEOS is setting up the data infrastructure (IDS) that will be used for the alert system and data and products generated.

Dr Aboubakar Mambimba Ndjoungui (left) and Dr Tidiane Ouattara
Dr Aboubakar Mambimba Ndjoungui (left) and Dr Tidiane Ouattara signing the hosting agreement for the GMES and Africa on 14 September 14 2018, in Libreville.

What is the current state of the development of the Gabon Space Policy?

The Gabon space policy is still under development. Indeed, as this will draw the mainline for national security, for a sustainable economic and space development in Gabon, it requires to bring together all the main actors in the country and get all the input. The process is taking quite a time, but this is the best way to have a fully complete space policy

What are some of the things the anticipated Gabon Space Policy cover?

Gabon space policy will cover the country’s strategic lines of development through the establishment of a sustainable space economy and access to space which will participate to the development of the technical and scientific capacities in the country.

Who are the countries AGEOS is partnering with? African countries and foreign countries. 

AGEOS does not have a partnership with countries but with Space agencies or company such as USGS, ESA, NASA, CNES, SANSA in several countries all around the world.

Lastly, what are some of the short- and long-term plans of AGEOS?

AGEOS is planning to build its own CubeSat and to give Gabon its first satellite. This will be done with Gabon university as part of the realization of the upcoming Gabon Space Policy. In a short time, AGEOS wants to be involved in any project that will help Africa to develop itself and reach the objective 2063 of the Africa Union.


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