The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) and France’s Center National d’Etudes Spatiale (CNES) signed a bilateral space cooperation agreement on the sidelines of the maiden Egypt-France Space Seminar in Cairo held on Tuesday.
The event, which was attended by Egypt’s Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall, France’s Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet, EgSA CEO Mohamed El-Qosi and other top government officials from Cairo and Paris, provided a platform for both countries to assess their space ambitions and identify areas of mutual interest.
During his speech, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar reaffirmed Egypt’s position as an emerging player in space with strong regional ambitions in Africa and the Arab world, adding that it is vital to collaborate with France in the field of space as both nations have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in many other fields of partnerships.
The agreement provides a framework for both countries to collaborate in a range of fields including Earth observation, the Space Climate Observatory initiative, space applications, R&T, the development of nanosatellites and training.
Commenting on the agreement, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: “This joint France-Egypt space seminar and the signature of an agreement with the EgSA mark the beginning of a new space partnership that will bring mutual benefits for our two countries and step up cooperation between nations on both shores of the Mediterranean. With this in mind, I have invited our Egyptian counterparts to visit the Toulouse Space Center to pursue our discussions and start working together.”
Egypt and France already record strong commercial affinity in the field of space, starting from the launch of Egypt’s first satellite in space, NileSat 101, which was built by the defunct French space company Matra Marconi, to the recent successful launch by Ariane 5 on 26 November 2019 of the TIBA-1 satellite for the Egyptian government, built by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space. Also, Egypt’s publicly-traded satellite operator recently awarded Thales Alenia Space a contract to develop its NileSat 301 telecommunications satellite after a competitive international tender.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.