Introducing the Appointed Representatives of the African Space Council

The African Union recently elected and appointed the first African Space Council in an effort to advance the operationalisation of the African Space Agency. The African Space Council is tasked with coordinating the activities of the African Space Agency, guiding continental space policymaking, managing African space industry stakeholders, and ensuring investments align strategically with continental objectives, including those outlined in Africa 2063. The council will also facilitate collaboration in space exploration and research through local, regional, continental, and international cooperation.

The African Space Council comprises ten individuals from the member states of the African Union Commission. This includes Dr Tidiane Ouattara from Cote d’Ivoire, who will serve as the President of the council, and Thandikile Chisala Mbvundula from Malawi, who will serve as the Vice-President. Other council members are Dr Rakiya Babamaaji from Nigeria, Dr Lisho Mundia from Namibia, Amal Layachi from Morocco, Aboubaker Hassan Ali from Djibouti, and Dr Éliane Ubalijoro from Rwanda.

Dr Tidiane Ouattara is the Head of the Science, Technology, and Space Division at the Department of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation of the African Union Commission. He has an extensive history in international relations, business development, policy development, and project negotiation and management.

Ms Thandikile Chisala Mbvundula is a social entrepreneur who founded Malawi’s first internet service provider, Epsilon & Omega, in 1999. She has built an extensive and remarkable career as a social entrepreneur and in ICT for Development initiatives.

Dr Rakiya Babamaaji is a Deputy Director of the Strategic Space Applications Department at the National Space Research and Development Agency, Nigeria. She is a resource person for human capacity development at the department and an expert in Geology, Water Resource Applications, Environmental Assessment, Remote Sensing, and GIS.

Dr Lisho Mundia is the Director of Research and Innovation in the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology, and Innovation, Government of the Republic of Namibia. He has about 20 years of working experience in education, research, and training.

Amal Layachi has over 30 years of experience in Earth Observation and Geographic Information Systems. She coordinated and participated in several national and international projects on space technologies application to national and regional development priority areas.

Aboubaker Hassan Ali is the Secretary General of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Djibouti. He manages the implementation of the Djibouti space programme.

Dr Éliane Ubalijoro is the CEO of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry. She serves on several boards and has been recognized for outstanding contributions to innovation, gender equity, and sustainable prosperity creation.

The African Space Agency will be the focal point of Africa’s collaboration with Europe and other non-African partners. Its mandate is to strengthen space missions in Africa and ensure access to space data, applications, and technologies. The agency also intends to transform the African space ecosystem from a resource-dependent industry to a knowledge-based one and promote space technology development in all member states of the African Union.

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