Nigeria, Rwanda become first African nations to sign NASA Artemis Space Accords
Nigeria and Rwanda on Tuesday signed Artemis Accords, making them the first African signatories to the agreement.
The Artemis Accords are a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
This was one of the fallouts of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington DC, which featured the first-ever U.S.-Africa Space Forum.
The Forum reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to collaborating with African partners on the peaceful use and exploration of outer space to meet shared priorities for here on Earth.
The Forum highlighted the U.S.-Africa space partnership and cooperation to address 21st-century challenges and opportunities, including responding to the climate, biodiversity, and global food crises; promoting responsible behaviour in outer space; and reinforcing U.S.-African scientific and commercial space cooperation.
Participants in the Forum committed to deepening the U.S.-Africa space partnership across all sectors.
The Accords affirm the importance of implementing best practices and norms of responsible behaviour as well as compliance with the Registration Convention and the Rescue and Return Agreement.
The two countries signed the agreement at a Space forum at the ongoing U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C.
Prof Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and ICT alongside Halilu Shaba, Director-General of Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) signed the agreement on behalf of Nigeria, while Paula Ingabire, Minister of the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation and Francis Ngabo, CEO of Rwanda Space Agency, signed the Accords on behalf of Rwanda.
They were joined on the U.S. side by Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bill Nelson, and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, Chirag Parikh.
With their signatures, 23 nations have signed the Artemis Accords.
The forum also discussed the role of the private sector in supporting the U.S.-Africa space partnership.
A number of U.S. companies have recently announced new investments in the U.S.-Africa partnership.
In furtherance of Nigeria’s goal of providing all of its citizens broadband access by 2025, Nigeria announced that SpaceX’s high-speed, low latency broadband service, Starlink, is now available in the country, making Nigeria the first country in Africa where Starlink is available.
The Rwanda Space Agency and ATLAS Space Operations have partnered to bring a teleport and large satellite antenna to the global space community.
Planet Labs PBC is investing across Africa with a range of stakeholders to deliver daily satellite imagery and geospatial solutions, that help meet sustainability, economic, and resource management priorities, including supporting decision-making on drought risk protection, forest management, and renewable energy.