Space Policies in Africa

March 05, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

Inadequate resource mobilization mechanisms, weak ownership and lack of integrated governance, and the absence of a significant industrial sector on the African continent constitute major obstacles to inclusive economic growth and social development. A useful framework has been developed to deal with this. This is Agenda 2063, which includes the following key elements: the promotion of science, technology and innovation.

It is recognized that space science and technology are important factors for the implementation of STISA 2024 and Agenda 2063. It is clear that space science and technology are indispensable tools that ensure sustainable use of natural resources and the creation of advanced industrial sectors. In addition, they significantly contribute to job creation, reducing poverty, management of resources sustainably and development of rural areas. A formal space sector will help Africa realize the vision of a peaceful, united and prosperous continent.

The African space policy is the first of a set of instruments that will help formalize the African space program. This policy provides the guiding principles for a sustainable and fully effective space program that will meet the needs of the African continent.

As a developing continent, Africa has considerable potential for socio-economic growth compared to the developed regions of the world. Space represents a unique opportunity for cooperation to share infrastructure and data to ensure the proactive management of epidemics, natural resources and the environment, management of natural disasters, forecasting weather, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, agriculture and food security, peacekeeping missions and conflict resolution.

The determining factors for an African space program are broken down through the following high-level political orientations:

  • Establishment of a well-coordinated and integrated African space program that meets the social, economic, political and environmental needs of the continent, all by being globally competitive.
  • Development of a regulatory framework that underpins the implementation of an African space program and ensures that Africa is a responsible and peaceful user of outer space.

The implementation of the African space program will:

  • Meet the needs of users by taking full advantage of the potential benefits of space technology and science to meet the socio-economic issues and challenges of Africa. To achieve this objective it is necessary to:

    • Improve the African economic situation and the quality of life of its inhabitants.
    • Meet the essential needs of the African market.
    • Develop the human resources essential to meet user needs.
    • Develop products and services using African capacities.
    • Establish communities of practice.
    • Develop and improve early warning systems on the continent.
  • Strengthen the applications of space technology on the continent to ensure optimal access to data, services and information products derived from space. To do this, you must:

    • Use the existing space infrastructure.
    • Develop, modernize and consistently operate cutting-edge African space infrastructure.
    • Promote capacity building for the development of space services.
    • Develop and expand the base of our space resources.
    • Set up regional and sub-regional centers of space skills.
    • Adopt data sharing protocols.
  • Develop a viable and dynamic local space industry that meets the needs of the African continent. This requires:

    • The development of a competitive African space program on a global scale.
    • The creation of industrial capacity.
    • Promotion of public-private partnerships.
    • The promotion of industrial development led by Research and Development.
    • The use of local space technologies, products and services.
  • Adopt good corporate governance and best practices for the coordinated management of continental space activities. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to:

    • Put in place an organizational framework.
    • Provide financial support to the African space program.
    • Pursue the efficient and sustainable African space program.
    • Promote knowledge sharing.
    • Continuously conduct awareness campaigns.
    • Ensure the monitoring and evaluation of space activities.
  • Coordinate the African space arena to maximize the benefits of current and planned space activities; avoid or minimize duplication of resources and efforts by:

    • Committing funds to optimize and improve efficiency.
    • Harmonizing and standardizing all infrastructures.
    • Regulating space activities.
    • Securing the space environment for use by Africa.
    • Preserving and maintaining the long term sustainability of outer space.
  • Promote inter-African cooperation and with other countries through:

    • Promotion of intercontinental partnerships
    • Promotion of international partnerships.
    • Promotion of partnerships between all sectors
    • Facilitation of equitable partnerships.
    • The assurance of a reasonable and significant financial and / or social return.
    • The influence of international agreements.

This policy provides the main strategic directions that will advance the agenda of any formal space initiative on the continent. The strategic directions of this policy are based on a set of objectives and principles which set out the important points to be addressed in the development and coordination of a viable and sustainable space program. These strategic objectives and principles constitute the essential elements and the basis of all decisions and actions of the African space program. This policy is a guiding framework for the formalization of an African space program, and is complemented by the African Space Strategy and associated implementation plans, as well as the governance structure.

We will come back to each objective of this policy in detail in our next articles.

Source: African Union

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