Recently Nigeria and Rwanda signed the Artemis Accord, becoming the first and second African nations to do so.
Nigeria was represented by the Minister of Communications, Prof. Isa Pantami, and Rwanda was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Space Agency, Col. Francis Ngabo.
This was carried out in conjunction with the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, during the US-Africa Space Forum.
With larger panel discussions on the use of space to promote sustainable development goals, capacity building, and the role of the business sector in promoting US-Africa collaboration, the event’s vision is to use outer space to fulfil shared goals for the US-Africa connection here on Earth.
According to official channels, “through Artemis, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon, heralding a new era for space exploration and utilisation.
While NASA is leading the Artemis missions, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.
The Artemis Accords will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment that facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all humanity to enjoy”.
Countries that have signed the Artemis Accord
Nigeria and Rwanda are the 22nd and 23rd countries to sign the Artemis Accord, according to the official website.
According to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, “Rwanda could not be more pleased to participate in this accord. Space technologies are increasingly becoming a critical tool for sustainable development, which is why Rwanda Space Agency was established two years ago to establish a space research and development centre.
Rwanda is happy to work with key US industry partners such as E-Space and Atlas Space Corporation. E-Space has opened an office in Kigali, Rwanda and will offer its innovative communication services and the internet of things.
We are also happy to host an Atlas antenna in Rwanda, contributing to lunar mission control. As we shoot for the stars, let us ensure that the exploration of outer space benefits all of mankind for generations to come”.
According to Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, “the Artemis Accord is all about what we should do peacefully in space, signalling the intention to help each other out, standardisation of instruments so we can come to each other aids when there is a problem”.
Rwanda is one of the few nations in East Africa with a national space programme.
The Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda passed the law establishing the national space programme in March 2021 with the intention of coordinating the country’s space sector activities geared toward communication security, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as purchasing and serving as a custodian of national spatial data and imagery.
According to the law established by the Rwanda Space Agency, among its duties are advising the government on drafting national and international space policies and helping to put those policies and strategies into practice.
The coordination of national initiatives related to developing a knowledge base in space and related technologies through conducting formal and practical training is another duty of the Rwanda Space Agency.
It also provides geospatial services for development activities in various domains such as agriculture, urban planning, emergency response & weather forecasts, and other related activities.
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