Towards Regional Collaboration in the African Space Industry – The Committee of African Space Institutions (CASI)

We recently wrote about how the establishment of a Maghreb Space Agency could help to solve the political problems in the Northern part of Africa – which emphasize how collaborations in the African Space Industry could help in achieving some strategic goals in the region. While the continent is still trying to catch up in the global space race, a collaborative effort could contribute to this. While we are still waiting for the full implementation and establishment of an African Space Agency, some space super-powers in the continent are already coming together to form a powerful institution that could make a lasting impact in the African Space Industry – the Committee of African Space Institutions (CASI).

Quoting Dr. Valanathan Munsami, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Space Agency; “South Africa has and is playing a leadership role on many fronts relating to developments in space science in Africa. We have assisted the African Union (AU) process of drafting the African Space Policy and the African Space Strategy, which were approved in January 2016 by the African Heads of State. These instruments provide for the establishment of appropriate governance mechanisms and programmes that give effect to an African space programme, which initiatives provide for a top-down approach to benefit all AU Member States. However, there is also a recognition that national space agencies need to rally together to provide technical expertise and resources for a bottom-up contribution to the African space programme. For this purpose, the formation of a Committee of African Space Institutions (CASI) is being spearheaded by South Africa, which will allow for the definition of collaborative space initiatives on the continent that will give impetus to the African space programme.

Committee of African Space Institutions (CASI) which was signed off in June during UNISPACE+50 is aimed to foster regional collaboration on key flagship initiatives. It would be able to oversee already agreed and future programmes, such as the African Resources Management satellite constellation, the Africa GEOSS, and the establishment of shared and/or co-located space ground infrastructure across the continent.

Countries involved in the committee of the African Space Institutions (CASI) are:

  1. Algerian Space Agency (ASAL)
  2. Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI)
  3. Gabonese Agency for Space Studies and Observations (AGEOS)
  4. Ghanaian Space Science and Technology Center (GSSTC)
  5. Kenyan Space Agency (KSA)
  6. Moroccan Royal Centre for Remote Sensing (CRTS)
  7. Nigerian National Space and Development Agency (NARSDA)
  8. South African National Space Agency (SANSA)