Egypt allocates $10 million for African Space Agency operations: Ministry official

Ahmed Abdelfatah, Tuesday 5 Mar 2019

Minister advisor Islam Abo El-Magd
Egypt's minister of higher education and scientific research advisor for African Affairs Islam Abo El-Magd (L) sits for an interview with Al-Ahram (Photo Courtesy of Ahmed Abdelfatah)

Egypt is allocating $10 million for African Space Agency (AfSA) operations, the hosting bid for which Egypt was granted by the African Union (AU) last February as the country assumed the 2019 chairmanship of the union.

In an interview with Al-Ahram daily newspaper, the higher education and scientific research ministry’s advisor for African affairs Islam Abo El-Magd said that Egypt’s hosting of the agency will make it a leading country in the field among 55 member states in the AU. 

“So far, Egypt has contributed $10 million to support the establishment of the agency through construction and operation costs for five years. A mechanism will be put in place during the upcoming period to provide the necessary financial support to ensure continued work towards the development goals in the continent,” said Abo El-Magd, who prepared the bid for AfSA.

Established in 2016 by the AU, AfSA is an African initiative dedicated to promoting, advising and coordinating the development and utilisation of space science and technology in Africa and the associated regulations for the benefit of Africa and the world, as well as forging intra-African and international cooperation.

According to Abo El-Magd, the agency is a public entity which supports all African states operating in the field; aiding in unifying local agency efforts and bolstering them on both the local and continental levels.

“The agency aims to support Egypt’s plan and African development agenda for 2063… which supports the societal and economic development of African countries. Therefore, establishing an African agency will help the continent in unifying opinions on the field,” he said.

The agency also aims to strengthen development in critical sectors such as agriculture, climate forecast, and satellite manufacturing.

The advisor said the agency will also have a pivotal role in unifying viewpoints on the peaceful use of outer space.

Last February, Egypt was awarded the hosting bid, saying the move resulted from the efforts by its foreign ministry and the ministry of higher education and scientific research to promote the Egyptian bid and demonstrate Egypt’s technical capabilities.

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