The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA), hosted delegates from FIVE countries participating on the development of the African Development Satellite (AfDevSat) on 30-31 January this year. Ag Director General of the Kenya Space Agency, Col Hillary Kipkosgey led the Kenyan delegation. The meeting was also attended by the Director General of the Nigeria Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Dr Halilu Shaba; the President of All Nations University in Ghana, Dr Samuel Donkor; the Head of Space Program at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Uganda, Dr James Kasigwa and the Secretary General of the Sudanese National Committee for Space (SUNACS), Mr Murad Mohamed.
During the inaugural meeting, the host Prof Mohammed Khalil, Deputy CEO of EgSA noted that he was pleased with the commitment of the participating countries in attending the various planning and capacity building initiatives held by EgSA over the last two years. He recalled the engineers training programme, where 16 engineers from the five participating African countries were trained at EgSA between 25th July – 6th August 2021 in preparation for the project.
The heads of delegation thanked EgSA for their diligence and dedication in steering the project and expressed their commitment to actualise the project to completion. During the meeting, the Ag DG KSA Col Hillary Kipkosgey stated that Kenya was committed to the project and was keen to explore other areas of collaboration and partnership such as developing a dedicated curriculum to different specializations in satellite technology at the local universities to spur innovation and growth in the Space Sector.
The delegation later met the Minister for Science Education and Technology of Egypt. Dr Khalid Abdul Ghaffar. The Minister commended the participating countries for fostering co-operation to achieve the common goal of building an African Satellite. He invited the participating countries to showcase a prototype of the satellite at the Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) which will be hosted in Egypt in November 2022.
The AfDevSat Project was announced during the ‘7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development’ (7th TIKAD) held in Japan in August 28-30, 2019. The objective of the project is to build and launch a satellite “built for Africa, by Africa” to monitor the effects of climate change in Africa. The data collected by the satellite will enable African countries study and respond to the adverse effects of climate change such as desertification, drought, famine and unprecedented rise and reduction of water levels of Africa’s lakes and rivers.
On the last day of the meeting, the Heads of the delegation from the SIX countries signed the Project Cooperation Framework Agreement that will guide the implementation of the African Development Satellite (AfDevSat). The document discusses the role of each of the participating country in the project in building the different satellite sub-systems. During the meeting the participating countries formed the steering and technical committee for the project.