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Defence Industry and Space
News article26 October 2023

The first EU-AU Space Dialogue steps up space cooperation between the two continents

For the first time ever, the European Union and the African Union held a Space Dialogue on cooperation in space on 24-26 October 2023 in Dakar, Senegal.

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This Space Dialogue was an opportunity to discuss African and European space initiatives and programmes and to intensify communication and cooperation on space affairs.

Africa is a key strategic partner for the European Union. Both continents are facing many common societal and environmental challenges such as climate change or natural disasters. space technologies, data and services are essential for tackling these challenges.

The opening ceremony of the Space Dialogue was attended by high level speakers, including Amadou Ba , Prime Minister of the Republic of Senegal, who delivered a keynote address as well as Maram Kaire, the Director-General of the Senegalese Space Study Agency. The European and African delegations then gathered to discuss joint initiatives and strategic partnerships in the field of space, covering satellite navigation, Earth Observation and space-based connectivity. A dedicated event was organised to present the EU’s new Secure Connectivity Programme IRIS2and related opportunities for collaboration with Africa. The Space Dialogue marked a significant milestone in international space cooperation. It offered an opportunity for a bilateral update on respective policy initiatives in view of finding synergies and enhanced strands of cooperation.

The EU delegation was led by Timo Pesonen, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS). Recognising the importance of the organisation of this Space Dialogue, Timo Pesonen stated “This Dialogue demonstrates the importance we attach to our partnership with the African Union. International cooperation is essential to the success of our space policy agenda and is a key dimension of the EU Space Programme. We need to step up the level of engagement on space matters between EU and the African Union.”

Representatives from DG DEFIS, DG INTPA, the JRC, the European Space Agency, and EUMETSAT formed part of the European delegation. The AU delegation was composed, among others, by the representatives of the African Union Commission, of several AU Member States’ space agencies and of regional organisations active in the field of space.


Publication date
26 October 2023