Africa needs own space agency - Bashir

2012-09-05 17:48

Khartoum - Africa needs its own space research agency, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told a regional conference of communications ministers who met on Wednesday as the continent's IT sector grows.

"I'm calling for the biggest project, an African space agency," Bashir said in remarks opening the two-day conference.

"Africa must have its space agency."

Known as AfriSpace, it would enable "cooperation among African states in space research and technology and their space applications", crucial to the continent's development, says a working document issued for the African Union conference.

When they last met in Nigeria two years ago, ministers asked the African Union Commission to conduct a feasibility study for AfriSpace.

Continental approach

At the Khartoum talks they are expected to ask for AU implementation of the study, which aims to provide a "roadmap for the creation of the African Space Agency".

The working document noted that only "a tiny minority" of countries control space technologies which play a major role in everything from broadcasting to weather forecasting, agriculture, health, and environmental monitoring.

"A common continental approach will allow the sharing of risks and costs and ensure the availability of skilled and sufficient human resources," the document said.

"It will also ensure a critical size of geographical area and population required in terms of the plan of action for some space applications."

Among its roles, AfriSpace would implement a long-term African space policy, recommend "space objectives" to member states, and coordinate orbital slots and other space resources, the document said.

Twenty years ago, African nations decided to create the Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation (Rascom), an intergovernmental commercial agency which in 2007 launched a pan-African telecommunications satellite.

A replacement satellite was launched from French Guyana in August 2010 to support health and education projects, broadband connectivity as well as voice, internet, radio and TV broadcasting, Rascom said on its website.


Bashir said he is also looking forward to the ministers' endorsement of a convention on cyber legislation, which would provide guidelines for development of national-level laws.

"I'm calling for the African states to protect and secure all their communications sources," Bashir said.

Cybercrimes are increasing on the continent as broadband Internet access rises, a conference document said.

"Being wired to the rest of the world means that Africa is now within the perimeter of cybercrime, making the continent’s information systems more vulnerable than ever before," it said.

Information and communications technology demand is soaring along with the growth in broadband, another conference document said.

"Demand, around 300 gigabits per second in 2009, will reach 6,000 gigabits per second by 2018," it said.

  • Asif Asmal - 2012-09-05 18:04

    Rid the continent first of corruption, secondly feed the people, then we can talk...

      wdvilliers - 2012-09-05 18:11

      I agree let us first solve the issues here before we take it up there.

      mlungisi.fynn - 2012-09-05 19:03

      If that was a prerequisite for space research no country/continent would be involved.

      Desilusionada - 2012-09-05 19:53

      100%. You got it in one! Facepalm, Eyepalm, Neckpalm and the rest of the F€kin bodypalm idea!!!!!!!!!!!

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-05 22:20

      There's already a space program - between Malema's ears!

      demi.davidson.18 - 2012-09-06 08:17

      If Africa had its own space agency then they could eject all Africa's murders, thieves, drug lords, corrupt government officials into space forever. Whoopie, yes please!

      mihaip007 - 2012-09-06 08:44

      lol. Can you imagine Africans on the moon or mars? They would claim that because their ancestors looked at them in ages gone by, that land now belongs to them LOL...

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-09-05 18:27

    Oh please African countries cannot even provide for their people.

      mlungisi.fynn - 2012-09-05 19:00

      And US and Eurozone can.

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2012-09-05 18:31

    First solve your hunger and peace issues.

      mlungisi.fynn - 2012-09-05 21:11

      What do you mean by YOUR?

  • francois.vorster.925 - 2012-09-05 18:41

    I almost thought it was the 1st of April

  • frankflower - 2012-09-05 18:42

    Brilliant idea, when this happens please send the entire ANC and its voters to Mars! Rid the world of African dictators.

      mihaip007 - 2012-09-06 08:46

      please man, they'll enjoy the weather there, rather Venus - now THERE is where hell is and Jesus won't come, so they can rule UNTIL He comes LOL....

  • The-Azanian - 2012-09-05 20:10

    The real AfriSpace agency is in operates at 00h00 during midnight. By the way its a good thing that Africa finally starts having its space needs served by itself. For instance Europe got f-ed up with American tendencies regarding the use of navigating satelite and decided to launch its own Gallilen satelite. Thats a step in the right direction except the fact that the idea is being fostered by a war-criminal Bashir.

  • stanley.langa.7 - 2012-09-05 20:14

    Now seriously! Let's give some thought and consult. I agree in principle, however we first need to change the perception of our "law abiding" & "tax paying" citizens (Investors) re: poor financial management, lack of due diligence & misappropriation by government officials--two years you've got ... maybe I'll re-consider.

  • charmaine.paterson1 - 2012-09-05 21:27

    Our South African municipalities cannot even maintain roads or water supply. Eskom cannot cope with electricity demand. Children are becoming less educated by the day. Hospitals are filthy pits without medicine. I hope there are other African countries better equipped to deal with owning a space agency and they leave the South Africans out for now.

  • therealdries - 2012-09-05 22:04

    I agree with Bashir. And he should volunteer to be the first subject launched into space (we wouldn't want to use someone that's actually useful).

  • ro.jhb.1 - 2012-09-06 07:55

    This is quite funny - the masses live on mud huts murdered by marauding tribes and Bashire the leader of one of the tribes responsible for murder wants a space station - these fellows consume too many mind altering substances

  • raath - 2012-09-06 08:13

    AfriSpace. South Africa pays. China builds. President is first astronaut.

  • demi.davidson.18 - 2012-09-06 08:16

    If Africa had its own space agency then they could eject all Africa's murders, thieves, drug lords, corrupt government officials into space forever. Whoopie, yes please!

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