At a cabinet meeting held today via video conferencing chaired by Paul KAGAME, President of the Republic of Rwanda, the draft law establishing the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) was approved. The Cabinet reviewed existing measures to further contain the spread of the COVID – 19 pandemic and approved a couple of measures effective immediately.
Rwanda was active in the African Union Working group on Space Science and Technology which drafted the African Space Policy and Strategy and launched its first satellite in 2019 in collaboration with Japan.
Quoting a statement by Honorable Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Defence in 2018 at the International Space Forum – African Chapter,
“Rwanda has particularly taken advantage of advancement in earth observation technologies as well as increased accessibility and affordability of data driving from space to improve the management of natural resources, enhance disaster monitoring and preparedness, environmental protection and management; for example, Rwanda works with the MIT in storing observatory centre for detecting pollution and upper gases. Aviation, clean based navigation, and infrastructures that support space organizations. Health care services, e-services like telemedicine to collect and deliver blood to rural areas. The country is currently developing a national data reproduction policy to complement other already adopted policies such as open data and smart Rwanda masterplan. This ambition to be data industry is supported by a pool of world-class researchers, academies recently established in Rwanda whose aim is to educate and produce experts in the STEM. These academies include the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, African centre for the internet of things, the African Centre of Excellence in Data Sciences, and national investees that have recently introduced programmes in this area. Besides these institutions of innovation, there is the Kigali Innovation and Exhibition Hub which has already begun producing practical services and data-driven products derived from big data analytics. Rwanda also supports the possibility of partnership and an integrated African space programme“.
In January 2019, the Rwandan government announced a long-term space programme aimed at growing the country’s uptake of space technologies and boosting research and development of space science. The plan was announced in a bid to harmonise ongoing government collaborations with foreign partners that are related to space science and technology. In June 2019, Rwanda applied to join the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (C0PUOS) at the ongoing 62nd COPUOS session in Vienna, Austria.
With the agency expected to become operational in Kigali in July 2020, the key mandate is to support and coordinate research programs in space science and technology as well as designing, building and launching of satellites.