United Arab Emirate’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Khaled Abdel Ghaffar , on Friday, September 6, 2019, met with the Director General of the UAESpace Agency Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, alongside their Egyptian counterpart, Dr Mohamed El-Qousy, Chief Executive of the Egyptian Space Agency.
The meeting which was held in Cairo, Egypt’s capital, focused on means of boosting bilateral science and space cooperation between both countries. The ministers discussed aspects of cooperation between both countries’ space agencies, and the actuation of terms of the agreement signed with the UAE Space Agency in March 2018, in order to cooperate in the field of space technology.
In his speech, Dr Abdel Ghaffer praised the preexisting relations between the two countries, as well as Egyptian’s enthusiasm and efforts in enhancing these relations.
He noted the importance of the Egyptian Space City as a foremost training centre in the field of space science; which he said demonstrates the country’s invaluable position in the scheme of things. He also hinted the adoption of the city to be the permanent headquarters of the African Space Agency.
Furthermore, the minister emphasised on the significance of the Arab Alliance initiative, expected to be signed in November by 11 Arab countries (including Bahrain, Oman, Morocco; Algeria, Jordan, Sudan; Lebanon, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait), and its aim of establishing the “Arab Space Cooperation Group”, through the allocation of a satellite designed to serve the development goals of the Arab countries.
Also speaking at the meeting, Dr Al Ahbabi, said that the UAE is working on its 10-year national strategy for space to meet its vision in the science domain; he pointed out that the National Space Strategy identifies space initiatives and projects as a path to achieving this vision. The National Space Strategy consists of 6 goals and 20 programs and 80 initiatives which will contribute to the actualization of UAE aspirations within the next ten years.
Stressing the need for the cooperation, Dr Al Ahbabi said Arab nations are “in dire need of capitalising on space services and activities to combat desertification and relevant phenomena and catch up with the latest development in this field”.
The meeting also addressed ways to make use of the UAE Space Agency experience to develop community awareness of space culture.
Currently, UAE stands at number two on the list of space-progressive countries in the Arab League with 10 satellites in space and 8 others under construction. Saudi Arabia tops the list with a total of 15 launched satellites.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.