The European Union and Africa Union held talks about Space co-operation.
The African Space Agency, the Pan-African University Institute on Space Science and the Future of Space Technologies and the Applications on the African continent, were at the center of discussion during the high level dialogue on space holding at the headquarters of the European Union Commissions in Brussels, Belgium.
The African Union Commission (AUC) was represented at this meeting by Mr. Jean-Pierre Ezin, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technologies (HRST).
The dialogue under the chairmanship of the Vice President of the European Commission (EC) responsible for Enterprise and Industry, Mr. Antonio Tajani, took place in the presence of Mrs. Sabine Laruelle, Belgian Minister for Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMES), Self-employed, Agriculture and Sciences Policy. (SMES) and Mr. Jean-Jacques Dardain, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Mr. Lars Prahm, Director-General of the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), amongst others.
Introducing the issue of the African Space Agency, Commissioner Ezin said, there are some lead African Union (AU) Member States such as South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Nigeria to mention a few, that have developed their own space related programmes and have proceeded to put up relevant infrastructures to manage these programmes. – “Some have even established their National Space Agencies”, he
The Commissioner underscored the need for Africa to embark on an ambitious African Space Programme that addresses the challenges the continent faces in managing its natural resources and sustain its diversity. Adding that, the African Union Commission is proposing to establish an African Space Agency, as a coordinated and integrated singular pan-African platform to champion a well-define Africa’s strategic space programme.
With regard to the Pan-African University (PAU) Institute on Space Science, Commissioner Ezin said, “time has come to develop skills so as to achieve high level training and research throughout Africa and to bridge the technological gap between countries and regions within Africa and between Africa and other continents”. He explained that, consultations are underway to “set up the Space component of the Pan African University in Southern Africa in the coming months,” underlining that a stronger mobilisation of an international organisation or a European country is needed to identify the Lead Thematic Partner for the PAU Institute on Space Science. This Partner, he said, will play a lead role in coordinating partner support, in collaboration with the AUC.
For more information about Africa’s Space ambitions, here is a previous post on the topic.