The African Union Heads of State and Government during their Twenty-Sixth Ordinary Session on 31 January 2016 in Addis Ababa adopted the African Space Policy and Strategy as the first of the concrete steps to realize an African Outer space Programme, as one of the flagship programmes of the AU Agenda 2063. They immediately urged the Member States, RECs, Partners and the Commission to raise awareness on the central role of space science and technology in Africa’s socio-economic development and mobilize domestic resources for the implementation of this policy and strategy. Adoption of the Space Policy and Strategy has set pace for collective revitalization of African space activities in contribution to the achievements of the overarching Agenda 2063.
The African Union being aware of the unique opportunities for the continent to collectively address socio-economic development issues through Space technologies, went further to request the development of an implementation architecture for the African Space Policy and Strategy, taking into account requirements of different sectors and end-user groups; as well as a Governance Framework that covers the relevant legal requirements and protocols for an operational African Outer-Space Programme. .
The Commission, through an AU Member States-based Working Group guided by sectorial Ministerial Conferences drafted the space policy and strategy that outlines the ambitious high-level goals to mobilise the continent to develop the necessary institutions and capacities to harness space technologies for socio-economic benefits that improve the quality of lives and create wealth for Africans.
However, the adoption of the policy although significant has no meaning in itself unless rapid steps are taken to implement it. The Heads of State and Government in their decision have also extended the timeframe for the African Union Space Working Group to continue with the exercise of drafting Governance and Implementation Frameworks. One of the next major steps to prepare such frameworks includes carrying out a comprehensive space technology audit to take stock of the African space heritage. This comprehensive audit will effectively inform the process of implementing the Policy and Strategy.
[AUSWG Members in their 7th Session held back to back with the African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development (ALC), in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt, December 2015]
Dr Martial de Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human resources Science and Technology took the opportunity to congratulate the Space Working Group chaired by South Africa and comprised of members from Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo and Cameroon, and Namibia for job well done.
For further information please feel free to contact Dr Mahama Ouedraogo, Head of division science and technology, African Union commission: OuedraogoM@africa-union.org