Egypt favorite to win bid to host African Space Agency as AU rejects Ghana’s bid

The African Union (AU) has rejected a bid by Ghana to host the African Space Agency. The Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST), Prof Sarah Agbor, has explained that the bid came in very late, leaving the AU with no option but to reject it.

Speaking at a briefing at the AU headquarters, she said “the deadline for the bid was October 30, 2018, and Ghana came in November so automatically, without even looking at the documents, you [Ghana] were not considered.”

Ethiopia, Egypt, Namibia and Nigeria put in bids but Namibia withdrew from contention later on. The HRST Commissioner said Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia have been shortlisted by an independent high-level panel as possible a host country for the space centre. She said one of them will soon be announced as the winner of the bid.

In April 2018, the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, indicated Ghana’s desire to host the space agency and served notices that Ghana was going to put in a bid.

Concerning Egypt’s nomination to host the headquarters of the African Space Agency, the ambassador to Ethiopia Osama Abdel Khaleq confirmed a committee of technical experts has visited the three nominated countries, namely Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria, and settled on Egypt whose file was complete from the technical and political perspectives. He made this statement ahead of Egypt assuming the chair of the African Union this year. While the African Union is yet to make the official announcement regarding the host, Egypt is seen as a favorite. Egypt, one of the big players in the African Space Industry is set to launch its latest satellite named EgyptSatA on February 21, 2019.

In October, 2018, Space in Africa gathered that Nigeria offered the African Union $10m grant in supporting its bid to host the agency.