Here is a synopsis of major decisions reached at the meeting according to a publication released by the Egyptian Space Agency.
Opening the meeting, the Minister emphasised on why it was important for all the ministries and stakeholders to participate in the development of Egyptian space law. He pointed out the relevance of engaging with representatives from the ministry and incorporating contributions from all the relevant authorities.
Furthermore, the minister stressed the need to submit a proposal to develop a database of all equipment, research laboratories and scientific cadres in different bodies, to streamline and identify the scientific specialities required in the field of space, both concerning the sending of scientific missions in these and other fields. According to Ghaffar, this contributes to achieving the priorities of the sustainable development plan in the future phase.
Speaking with regards to the agency, the CEO of the Egyptian Space Agency, Dr Mohamed Ạl Quosy said that a committee was formed to put together the agency’s organisational structure and the national space programme in its final form. He also hinted that the national space programme was presented to the relevant ministries and other stakeholders who are interested in the field of space in Egypt.
In other related matters, the Council approved the proposed organisational structure of the Egyptian Space Agency and its departments. They also reached a consensus to transfer the dependence of the Egyptian space programme to the National Authority for Remote and Space Science of the Egyptian Space Agency, in readiness for a decision by the Prime Minister. The Council decided to approve the draft Egyptian space law for submission to the Council of State.
Meanwhile, the meeting also highlighted discussions on the proposed budget for projects for the year 2020/2021. The projects were grouped into various themes, including human capacity building, the publication of space science and culture, the development of reception stations of equipment and software, space relations and international cooperation, facilities and buildings.
The Council received briefings on some recent activities of the agency such as the Egyptian Space Day and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the French Space Agency. It was also intimated on the agreement reached between the agency and the Ministry of Education on the STEM training programme involving 20 students from three schools, as well as the Moon Project initiative by the Higher Council of Universities. The project, according to the briefing, will see each university implement a moon project. A meeting was held with some university representatives to discuss the implementation mechanism.
Other deliberations at the meeting included information on the status of the African Development Satellite Project, which aims to control emissions of greenhouse gas and monitor other climate variables on the continent. On the project’ s timeline is a training programme scheduled for June and July 2020, which will see the Egyptian Space Agency train 20 participants from partner African countries.
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.