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Egypt hosts training to boost space cooperation among African countries

CAIRO, (The Southern African Times) – The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) started on Sunday a space technology training course for 17 engineers and specialists from five African countries to boost their cooperation and exchange of expertise in the space field.

Running from July 25 to Aug. 5, the 12-day program provides theoretical and practical training for the trainees who are from Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya.

During the opening ceremony, EgSA CEO Mohamed El-Koosy told the attendees that developing space technology is not easy, for it needs a longstanding experience and a considerable budget.

“But it is not impossible. It can be achieved by the cooperation of African countries in space projects that have a positive influence on their economy and sustainable development,” El-Koosy said.

Following the opening ceremony, the trainees and guests were taken on a tour inside EgSA’s unfinished Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test Center (AITC), which is being built with help from China.

The 5,000-square-meter center is expected to be finished in March or April 2022, a year later than scheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

El-Koosy praised China’s assistance to Egypt in the space field and its grants to establish the AITC as well as MisrSat II remote sensing satellite, noting that Chinese experts will provide training to EgSA staff before they deliver the center to the Egyptian agency.

“The Chinese experts need six months to train our people, on-the-job training. Once our people are trained, the Chinese experts will deliver the center to the Egyptian side,” the head of EgSA told Xinhua during the tour.

“Since Egypt and many other African countries participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), we welcome using this center under the umbrella of the BRI to serve African states that participate in the BRI,” he added.

Egypt offered in late November 2019 to hold this training course on satellite and space technology, after it signed here in EgSA with Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya a declaration of the project of the African Development Satellite Initiative.

The opening ceremony of the training course was attended by a number of Egyptian and African officials and diplomats, academics, representatives from the African Union and other African organizations, as well as space agency chiefs of some African countries.

“It is apparent that we have to speak together and work together to take Africa to where we want it to be. It is our responsibility to develop this science and technology. The Egyptian Space Agency has taken the lead and we’re glad and excited,” said Halilu Ahmed Shaba, director-general of Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

The NASRDA chief also hoped that this training program will lead to future collaborations between participating African countries in the field.

For his part, Samuel Donkor, president of All Nations University (ANU) in Ghana, expressed his appreciation of what Egypt is doing “for the development of space activities in Africa.”

“Egypt is taking a strong leadership, making sure that others in the continent receive the needed training in the space field. It will boost and encourage space cooperation, and provide the know-how and the requisite skills to achieve that goal,” Donkor told SAT.

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