The South African Trade and Deputy Minister, Bulelani Magwanishe, told the UNISPACE+50 High-Level Segment of the 61st session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS) in Vienna, that South Africa is keen to develop global partnerships in the space arena. He reiterated that the country is committed to the peaceful use of outer space and the long-term sustainability of space-related activities.
Africa, as a continent, is making great progress in space and several African countries have established space agencies. There has been a realisation of the link between the ability to deliver connectivity to African nations via space and increased socio-economic development, as well as the importance of innovation in space and the benefits of becoming a space faring nation. South Africa made a significant contribution to the development and the adoption of African Space Policy and Strategy, in 2016 which provides the foundation on Africa’s strategy in space for the African Agenda 2063. Mauritius and Ethiopia have also applied for membership of COPUOS, which has been welcomed by South Africa as it pushes for Africa to be represented in terms of outer space governance.
“South Africa has keen interest in global partnerships concerning space exploration and innovation, and will continue to prioritise this area for economic development, as Africa’s economy is increasingly becoming space-dependent. Space related products have proven to contribute to the alleviation of key societal challenges that are still plaguing the continent and other developing countries,” said Magwanishe.