The 1st of June 2022, the First Steering Committee Meeting of the new Programme “Support to Satellite Navigation in Africa-III” took place in Kigali, Rwanda with venue at Serena Hotel and back to back with the continental SBAS CBA Workshop organized by AUC and AFCAC.

The Meeting was officially opened by AUC represented by Mr Eric Ntagengerwa on behalf of the Director Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Kamugisha, Kazaura; and by EC represented by Mr Marco Parolin from DG INTPA and Mr Peter De Smet DG-DEFIS, followed by key note address from Mr James Danga, Representative of Ag. AFCAC SG, Ms Angelique Simana.

Co-chaired by AUC and EC, the Meeting held in hybrid mode, gathered 41 (24, remotely and 17 present) high-level representatives of various Institutions including EC/DG-DEFIS, DG-INTPA, SCENIC, AUC, AFCAC, ICAO WACAF and ICAO ESAF, COMESA, IGAD, EAC, ECOWAS, and ASECNA.

After recalling the key role of the Steering Committee in providing policy and strategic guidance for the implementation and monitoring of the Action, the Chairpersons thanked JPO stakeholders and stressed the importance of this first Meeting which came just on time just after the CBA Workshop. Both Chairs informed the Meeting they will pursue their efforts and commitment to support the Programme for EC through the 2021-2027 plan and for AUC who announced the successful completion of the first Phase of the long-awaited CBA study and strategy, a key milestone achievement in Africa. The 2nd Phase of the study on governance is planned for next Year.

The Meeting provided also an opportunity to share with SC Members the rebranding of the JPO illustrated through a new Logo and the new name, in response to its new mandate and the extension of JPO Portfolio to all GNSS services in addition to SBAS services while acknowledging the increasing solicitation of the JPO by Space Key Actors in Africa

Joining words with actions, the JPO provided a brief report on the first Period of the work programme focusing on the key achievements, among others, the continued support to ASECNA A-SBAS post-Phase-B implementation activities, the contribution to key African events such as CHINA Africa BDS Forum, Women in GMES, AFI-ANSP meeting, Newspace Africa Conference- 2022, AFRAA Stakeholders Convention-2022 or AFI Aviation Week and the various market studies undertaken by JPO.

The RECs (Regional economic communities) contributed as well with the various programmes in their respective regions which may also require satellite Navigation services.

AFCAC as Chair of the SBAS CBA Project steering committee which involved as well the industry partners such as IATA and AFRAA, provided the background of the Project and status of the recommendations stemming from the Continental SBAS CBA Workshop organised by AUC/AFCAC which was hosted by Rwanda CAA in Kigali from 3àth to 31st May 2022. Both AUC and AFCAC praised the support from all Stakeholders including EU through the Infrastructure Support Mechanism (ISM), the independent Consultant (DT-Global) to fulfil this important project for Africa.

Typical recommendations of the SC1 include the need for continued support to JPO from its stakeholders in order to fulfil its mandate in its various and challenging activities, further mobilization of States behind the commendable actions already undertaken by the RECs, the need to facilitate JPO involvement in the continental planning of GNSS before JPO operationalisation.

The Meeting was closed with a note of recognition of the JPO achievements and a vote of thanks from the Chairpersons for the valuable contributions to the Meeting by all Participants and the good facilities provided. The 2nd Meeting of the SC is planned in Brussels in March, 2023.