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Delegates attend US-Africa commercial space stakeholders meeting

The meeting marks the beginning of a space-symbiotic relationship between the two regions.
Image credit: Office of Space Commerce

Delegates from the US and African governments and industry attended the US-Africa Commercial Space Stakeholders Meeting held on the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The meeting, jointly organised by the African Union and the U.S. Departments of Commerce (DOC) and State (DoS), aimed to foster multilateral space partnerships and space commerce, marking the beginning of a space-symbiotic relationship between the two regions.

During the meeting, Meshack Kinyua Ndiritu, representing Dr Tidiane Ouattara, the African Outer Space Programme Coordinator at the African Union Commission, highlighted the significance, purpose, and current status of the African Outer Space flagship programme. He emphasised the critical role of Earth Observation (EO) infrastructures and data in realising Africa’s 2063 Vision, underscoring the importance of collaboration in advancing space development in both regions.

The meeting also called for the alignment of U.S. space cooperation with the unique needs of African countries. Delegates emphasised the necessity of tailoring solutions to address the specific requirements of each nation rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

The meeting featured three sector-specific discussions, focusing on Earth observation, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and telecommunications. Recommendations from the discussions included a collaboration between African countries to launch a satellite constellation, fostering technical knowledge-sharing and pan-African data-sharing initiatives; the need to to resolve issues related to affordable satellite internet access and regulatory policies imposed by foreign companies on Starlink; and the need for the U.S. to proactively and intentionally collaborate with Africa.