South Africa, UAE collaborate for space exploration


The South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA) has signed its first Memorandum of Understanding with the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Space Agency for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of UNISPACE +50, which took place in Vienna from June 18 to 21.

Delivering the country statement at the UNISPACE+50 High-Level Segment of the 61st session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS) on Wednesday, South Africa’s Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said South Africa is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer-space activities.

Magwanishe said the country is keen on developing global partnerships in the space arena.

“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 the Deputy Minister.

South Africa played a role in the development and adoption of the African Space Policy and Strategy in 2016.

The UAE delegation led by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said he hopes the collaboration will bring about scientific exchanges and knowledge transfers that will benefit both nations.

“This Memorandum is part of our strategic framework for the United Arab Emirates and its space sector. It will support our scientific research capabilities and contribute to national capacity development programs by providing advanced skills across various disciplines and fields. The agreement we have signed here in Vienna allows for scientific exchanges and knowledge transfers on the part of South African experts in these key areas,” said Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi.

The UNISPACE +50 conference marks the 50th anniversary since the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The event gathers international space sector leaders, heads of organisations, experts and academia to discuss means of future cooperation and adopt resolutions that sets the framework for future years.