The inaugural first African Space Workshops finally took place in Alexandria, Egypt in November 2018. After several months of planning, the events were hosted alongside the 12th African Association of Remote Sensing for the Environment (AARSE) Conference at the Arab Academy of Sciences.
The first workshop took place on Saturday, October 27. Dubbed “the African Space Community Workshop”, the event brought together African space experts, including some from the African Union Commission (AUC). The key speaker was Professor Tidiane Ouatarra, the coordinator of the GMES & Africa Programme at the AU. Others included Dr. Bashir Saleh and Mr. Fatti from the programme as well.
In his address, Prof. Ouatarra gave a brief on his contribution in getting more African nations participating at the sessions of the United Nations Committee for Outer Space Affairs (UNCOPUOS). Dr. Ouattara stressed the need for a bigger voice by African Nations, if the Continent is the benefit from space technology and applications.
The other speaker was Dr. Doreen Agaba from the Space Technology Agency in Uganda. Addressing the audience through Skype, she tackled the topic “The Role of Space Technology in realising Sustainable Development Goals in Africa”.
Participants were able to interact and share their own experiences, with ASW founder, Mr. Ahmed Abdi giving a talk on the origins of the ASW and its future.
The second workshop on the African Space Entrepreneurship took place on Sunday 28. The first speaker was Prof.Sias Mostert from South Africa. His presentation was on “Space Economy and Space Entrepreneurship in Africa”.
Prof. Claudio Margottini, who is the Scientific & Technological Attaché at the Embassy of Italy in Egypt, made a presentation on behalf of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The presentation was titled “Space Science and Academia for Sustainable Development in Africa”. He highlighted the importance of promoting the development of indigenous space capacities in Africa, with the aim of finding indigenous and better space solutions to Africa’s challenges.
Dr. Christian Steimle from Airbus who spoke about the Bartolomeo Project, the Bartolomeo Project was about getting access to the ISS to host external payload to be able to do all kinds of activities (e.g. Earth Observation, Microgravity test, Robotics, etc.). Payload can be hosted for both institutional as well as private organisations.
At the end of the workshop, Mr. Andre Siebrits from South Africa commended the ASW team for putting together the workshops and hoped that the ASW will be embraced for future events.
The full report of the workshops can be downloaded here.