Half of the year 2019 is gone, and if space enthusiasts within (and beyond) the African continent felt that January to June was a period laden with activities, then they have to brace themselves, because the second half of 2019 is set to be as busy and lively as could possibly be. There is a lot of buzz around the African space industry lately, and to this end, there will be conferences, summits, workshops, dialogues, opportunity openings, calls for research submissions, and forums for players and stakeholders in the African space sector to look forward to between now and the end of the year.
July 13 is the deadline for space scientists and researchers to submit abstracts to the American Geophysical Union, in respect of its 2019 annual Fall Meeting. The Meeting, scheduled to take place in San Francisco, will take place from December 9-13, 2019, and will involve discussions centred on the future of science.
In terms of opportunities, August 5 is the deadline for applications in respect of specialized roles at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) is looking for a Climate Change Mitigation Officer to Strengthen the Resilience of the IGAD region to the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change through effective Adaptation and Mitigation Actions (RICCAMA), a project supported under the Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) Programme of the E.U. There is also a vacancy for a Project Manager in respect of the same project.
There is more in August, as The Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) will host the Digital Earth Africa Day and other networking events on August 12, 2019, on the sidelines of the RCMRD International Conference & 4th AfriGEOSS Symposium taking place at the RCMRD Campus, Kasarani in Nairobi, Kenya. There would be more to come in terms of space-related activities in Kenya, judging from the fact that the 3rd RCMRD International Conference themed “Earth Observation for Evidence-Based Decision Making” will be held from August 14 to 16, 2019 at Nairobi, Kenya.
The window of applications for the GMES and Africa Copernicus Marine Earth Observation Training, which is designed to support the development of GMES & Africa activities and Copernicus marine data use around the African continent, is set to close on August 23, 2019. Not too long after that, there will be the High Energy Astrophysics in Southern Africa Conference which will take place on August 28, 2019. There is also a call by the Faculty of Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) to apply for a job opening as a Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics, and that call expires on August 30, 2019.
September 11 marks the 3rd World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation, which focuses on climate change with an emphasis on the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Space scientists and academicians are expected to respond to the call by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory to apply for Postgraduate and Doctoral Scholarships for 2020 by September 23, 2019.
Activities within and around the Africa industry hardly slow down in October, as the IAU Symposium 356 on ‘Nuclear Activity in Galaxies Across Cosmic Time’ will be held in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, from October 7 – 11, 2019. The International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the world’s largest gathering of space professionals, will be held in Washington DC, U.S.A from 21-25 October 2019. The West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA) is also scheduled for October 21, 2019, while the African Open Data and Internet Research Foundation is putting together the Africa Geospatial Data and Internet Conference and exhibition from the 21st-25th of October, 2019 at Accra International Conference Centre, Ghana with the theme “Shaping the Digital Future of Africa”.
Rwanda will host the Africa GIS 2019, themed “Innovations in Geospatial Technologies for achieving the SDGs in Africa” and scheduled to hold from November 18-22, 2019. The State of the Map Africa/Logo Contest 2019, powered by the State of the Map Africa Working Group, will take place in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast from November 22-24, 2019.
The 3rd edition of the African Space Generation Workshop (AF-SGW), powered by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), will take place in November 2019 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two-day regional workshop will bring together students, young professionals and industry representatives to engage and nurture the next generation’s perspective on space and scientific matters in the African region. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with experts from academia, businesses and space agencies through plenary and panel sessions, keynotes and working group discussions. In respect of the organising of this event, SGAC is looking for space enthusiasts below 35 years of age to join the Programme Team, Communication Team, Delegate Team, Logistics Team, and Local Organising Committee.
The 8th edition of the African Space Leadership Congress (ASLC) on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development has been scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from December 2 to December 4, 2019. This year’s congress, themed “Prospects and Challenges of African Space Development”, is aimed at capitalising efforts of African nations on space technologies to address key socio-economic challenges and harnessing the opportunities that space science and technology could provide. The International Conference on the Exploitation of Geospatial Data (CIEDG), which represents a scientific event that will bring together the different actors in the fields of Earth Observation, Geomatics and Space Geodesy, will hold on December 15, 2019.
From the information provided above, it can be deduced that the second half of the year as it pertains to the African space industry will be anything but uneventful. There is a lot to look forward to, a lot to sign up for, and there is an abundance of networking as well as knowledge acquisition opportunities.
Jerry Chiemeke is an editor, writer and mental health advocate. His works have appeared in Bellanaija, True Nollywood Stories, Music In Africa and The Guardian, among others. Jerry is the winner of the 2017 Ken Saro Wiwa Prize for Reviews. He is a Senior Editor at Space in Africa.