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Rwanda and Nigeria Sign Artemis Accords

Colonel Francis Ngabo and Professor Pantami Signing the Artemis Accords. Credit: Rwandan Space Agency.

Ibadan, 14 December 2022. –Rwanda and Nigeria have signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Artemis Accords, becoming the first African nations to join the accords. Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Infrastructure, Professor Ali Isa Pantami, and Rwanda’s Space Agency CEO, Col Francis Ngabo, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. The signatures took place during the US-Africa Space Forum on the sideline of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC, United States.

Speaking on the occasion, Col  Ngabo opined, “enabling shared opportunities for peaceful space explorations will benefit humanity through the discovery of solutions for cutting-edge space technologies, advances in medicine, protection of the planet and environment, creation of scientific and technical jobs and scientific breakthroughs from exploring the unknown. Even though Rwanda is currently focusing on the downstream space segment, we are keeping an open mind on the upstream and want to be a part of advocating for responsible use of outer space.”

Likewise, Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, also added, “the Artemis Accord is all about what we should do peacefully in space, signaling the intention to help each other out, standardization of instruments so we can come to each other aid when there is a problem.” 

The Rwandan President, HE Paul Kagame, also stated that his country could not be more pleased to become a member of the accord. He added that “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 center.”

With the addition of the two signatories, 23 nations have affirmed their commitment to transparent, safe, and sustainable space exploration.

NASA and the State Department announced the establishment of the Artemis Accords in 2020. They are a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Accords also reinforce the commitment by the United States and signatory nations to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, as well as guidelines and best practices NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.

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