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European Commission Plans for Africa and Latin America

Opening day of the European Space Conference. Credit: SpaceWatch Global

Ibadan, 25 January 2023. – The 15th European Space Conference ended today, January 25, 2023, at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium. During the 14th session on deepening space cooperation between Europe, Africa, and Latin America, Tomasz Husak disclosed some of the plans the European Commission had for Africa and Latin America. The panel session included several dignitaries, including Dr. Tidianne Ouattara, Space Science Expert and GMES & Africa Support Program Coordinator, African Union Commission; Bryan Dean, Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder of Dragonfly Aerospace; Manuel Heitor, Chairperson and coordinator, k4P Alliances, Portugal; and Tomasz Husak, Adviser Digital Agenda and Data Technologies, European Commission, among others.

During the conversation, Tomasz Husak pointed out that the European Commission is now looking toward an EU Africa space flagship program based on three pillars. According to Husak, the first pillar will result in innovation and a partnership to see how the Commission can help the newly established African space agency commence operations. The second part of the plan, according to the Adviser Digital Agenda and Data Technologies, European Commission, will emphasize the industrial capacity, including, for example, the production of nanosatellites. Accordingly, this first pillar would cost EUR 100 million.

Continuing on the pillars, Husak described the second pillar as space for the green transition. This is due to the green transition being a crucial global problem. As a result, the Commission will focus on biodiversity, climate change, climate resilience, and early warning systems regarding climate catastrophes and disasters. The third pillar will focus on creating business ecosystems of startups, and business accelerators, creating real potential for African countries and African companies, as a result, to deal as best as possible with data.

In Latin America, Husak disclosed that the European Commission would launch the EU Latin America Caribbean digital alliance in March this year. He noted that the alliance is not an entirely new development as it is based on something the Commission was already doing. Citing the recently launched Copernicus data center in Chile, Husak pointed out that the problem between the EU and Latin American Caribbean for many years has been a lack of connectivity. He concludes that the digital alliance will empower local populations and companies and give them more opportunities in small global markets.

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