Cover Image for The African Outer Space Programme: Role and Expectations of the African Space Council
Cover Image for The African Outer Space Programme: Role and Expectations of the African Space Council

The African Outer Space Programme: Role and Expectations of the African Space Council

Hosted by African Space Leadership Institute
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About Event

The African Union is taken progressive steps in the implementation of its continental space programme. The African Union Commission (AUC) coordinated the drafting of the African Space Policy and Strategy; these were adopted by the African Union (AU) Heads of States and Governments in 2016. Subsequently, the African Space Agency was established in 2018, with headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

In February 2024, during the 44th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council, the African Space Council was constituted with eight members from Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria and Rwanda. Is the Council poised to perform its expected strategic and oversight roles? What are the expectations from the Council vis-a-vis the African Space Agency?

Joining us to discuss these and other issues around the implementation of the African Outer Space Programme are Mr Mester Amine, Ms Joan Chesoni, Mr Imraan Saloojee, Prof Islam El-Magd, Mr Ahmed El Fadhel and Ms Julia Selman Ayetey.

Mr. Amin Mestar served as an engineer at the Space application department of the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) from 2006 to 2007. In 2007, he was appointed as head of planning department at ASAL and was involved in the management of the Alsat-2 Earth observation satellite program for the Algerian government. In 2011, he was promoted to the position of Director of Planning, then in 2013, Director of Administration of the agency. In 2016, he was assigned, for a 2-year period, at UN office in Geneva in the framework of a cooperative program between ASAL and the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of United Nation Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR – UNOSAT). In 2018, he re-joined ASAL and was nominated in March as ASAL‘s Secretary General.

JOAN CHESONI LLB LLM is an experienced senior legal practitioner who has participated in regional and international thought leadership to advance the transformative force of well drafted legislation and policy frameworks. Joan is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and earned her LLM from the prestigious Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands. She has trained extensively in local, regional and international legal forums achieving excellence in the fields of Corporate Restructuring, Mergers and Acquisitions, Project Development and PPPs, Energy, Banking, Aviation, Air and Space Law, Risk and Compliance, Corporate Governance, Board Management, Diplomacy, Telecommunications and Media, and Intellectual Property law. Joan currently serves a Director on the Kenya Space Agency Board. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Space University (ISU), Strasbourg, France. She was recently appointed by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) as the international Space4Women Mentor 2023.

Mr Imraan Saloojee is the Director at the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), a leading management and innovation consultancy focused on driving long-term sustainability through radical changes in how businesses and society innovate. Imraan's background includes serving as Chief Sector and Business Developer at the South African National Space Agency, where he oversaw SANSA’s EO business development. He also was a member of the African Union Commissions Space Working Group that developed the African Space Policy and Strategy. Prior to his work with SANSA, Imraan spent 14 years at the Department of Science and Technology, most recently as the Director for Earth Observations. During this time, he was seconded to the Group on Earth Observation Secretariat in Geneva, where he was responsible for driving the capacity-building programme. Imraan has also represented South Africa at the OECD's working group on Science and technology indicators.

Pof Islam El-Magd is the President of the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS), Egypt. He also serves as the Counsellor for Space Technology and African Affairs, to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He previously served as Deputy CEO of the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA). He has also served in several national and international committees including Chair of the working group that prepared the Egypt file for hosting the African Space Agency; member of the AU Space Working Group developed the African space policy and strategy; co-Chair of the Implementation Plan Working Group that developed the 2016-2025 strategic implementation plan for GEO (Group on Earth Observation; member of the STC - EST Bureau for the African Union Commission; and Vice-President of the African Association of Remote Sensing and Environment (AARSE).

Julia Selman Ayetey is the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She is a Solicitor & Barrister of the Supreme Court of Ghana. She was called to the Bar in England and Wales (Middle Temple). She is also a Partner at the law firm Ashong Benjamin & Associates in Accra. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University in Canada, where her research examines non-state actors, shared responsibility and the making of international space law.