9 August 2010

Africa: AU to Establish African Space Agency

Abuja — The African Union, has commenced a process that would lead to the setting up of a regional space agency.The agency, to be known as the African Space Agency, would focus on the development of common space policy for the continent .

In a communique issured at the end of the third African Union conference of Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Teritory, member countries agreed to conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of the African Space Agency,

It said this would be done taking into account existing initiatives and develop an African space policy in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and REC.

The AU Ministers conference also agreed to work jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to finalise action on the draft convention on cyber legislation and support its implementation in member-states.

Another major decision taken by the ministers is to set up the structure and modalities for the implementation of the project.

The communique said the AU would liaise with the International Telecommunications Union and with all development partners to continue activities on harmonisation of policy and regulations in Africa based on the platform created by HIPSSA project.

The conference resolved to integrate the NEPAD e-Africa Commission governance into the governance structure of CITMC and to provide support to member states in implementing the e-Post programme in cooperation with stakeholders.

Jonathan had said during the opening of the conference that a lot still needs to be done by Africa to bridge the knowledge and technology gap between it and the rest of the developed world if it must achieve rapid and sustained economic, social and human development.

"Our information and communication technology strategies and policies as well as regulatory frameworks still need to be harmonised to enable us reap the full benefits of this development", he said.

He told the gathering comprising of delegates from African Union member countries that the next focus must be the development and application of broadband and improvement in internet services to accelerate development in areas of national security, e-governance, tele-medicine, public safety and education.

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