African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education – English (ARCSSTE-E), one of NASRDA’s Centres, plans to commence a postgraduate program in Space Law by 2020, according to Space in Africa.
Space Law as an academic study and policy discourse is drawing traction from the academia, international forums and the space industry globally as a result of the increased commercial use of space and intensifying geopolitics among the committee of nations. Regulating space exploration is a crucial function in international cooperation that lays out guidelines for the governments of countries and private companies to maintain peaceful use of outer space without endangering the Earth or hindering further activities in space. It is imperative that policy and lawmakers regularly harmonise and regulate activities in outer space to meet growing complexities of technology innovations and ever-expanding national interests.
African nations support the global effort for the peaceful use of outer space through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. UN COPOUS currently comprises of 92 member states, 19 of which are from Africa. However, only about 4 to 6 member states from Africa participate regularly in the Legal Sub-committee of the UN COPUOS. In 2017, only 5 countries from Africa represented the region on the Legal Sub-committee.
Space Law is almost non-existent in academic curricula of universities across the continent, except for few universities that offer space studies as a unit of postgraduate programmes.
ARCSSTE-E will be the first institution in Africa to offer a dedicated post-graduate program in Space Law after receiving accreditation from UNOOSA. The program will offer research focusing on the legal, public policy and governance issues affecting the dynamics of outer space exploration. The ARCSSTE-E program will foster further development on the subject matter of space law in the curriculum of academic institutions across Africa and assist national space agencies in developing the technical legal capacity for the formulation of national space laws and policies.
The African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTE-E) was inaugurated in Nigeria on 24th November 1998 and affiliated to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA). A number of other national and regional institutions with research and training interest in space science and technology are also affiliated to it. Following resolution 45/72 of 1990 and 50/27 of 1995, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of UNISPACE 82 that the United Nations Programme on Space Applications should assist member states in enhancing their indigenous capacity in the utilisation of SST for national/regional development. The UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (UN-OOSA) was mandated to establish centres for Space Science and Technology Education in developing countries on a regional basis. Nigeria and Morocco were chosen to host the Centres for Space Science and Technology Education for the benefit of Anglophone and Francophone African countries respectively. The host institution for the Centre in Nigeria is Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.