The European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship and Vice-President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, and Jean-Pierre Ezin, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union Commission (AUC), expressed in a joint statement satisfaction with the on-going cooperation between the EU and Africa in the field of space applications.
Firstly, the joint statement highlights the need for a future African Space Agency, which could initially focus on practical areas capable of producing benefits for the African citizen such as use of Earth Observation data to monitor weather, environment and climate change.
Among other issues, the joint statement underlines the progress made on the GMES and Africa initiative through the extensive exchange of contacts between the two continents. In this context, the ongoing preparation of a high-level strategic document to guide the implementation phase was welcomed, while the extensive work done for the preparation of a detailed thematic action plan was recognised. The action plan will facilitate the allocation of EU contributing funding for 2011 onwards, the definition of the EU Financial Perspectives 2014-2020 as well as contributions from other sources and the implementation in Africa of priority applications. Furthermore, EUMETSAT and ESA indicated their readiness to consider additional support for new projects emerging from the GMES and Africa initiative.
One day later, on 16 September 2010, a high level political meeting on “Space for the African Citizen” was organised by the AUC and the Belgian High Representation for Space Policy, in the framework of the Belgian presidency of the EU. The meeting focused on how space technologies can be used as a transversal tool to contribute to Africa’s global development.
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