The African continent is today a burgeoning actor in the international space arena. African countries are investing in, and developing, space technologies to face their current and future socio-economic challenges. The Report provides an insight on the evolutionary approach to space activities in the continent, by analysing the governance of such activities, in both its institutional and normative dimensions at the regional and national levels, as well as the relevant forms of international cooperation in the implementation of space programmes.
In the light of the long-standing international scientific cooperation between Italy and Kenya, this Report is an outcome of the research project OSL – Outer Space Law for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development. The Project has been carried out since 2019 by the OSL Team within the Department of Political Sciences of Sapienza University of Rome under the Agreement concluded with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to implement the 2015 Framework Agreement between ASI and Sapienza.
It is a project on legal research, covering three main areas: a) legal instruments of international cooperation for space activities, especially those between Italy and Kenya; b) legal and institutional aspects related to the governance of space activities in Italy and Kenya; c) the legal regime of new space activities, including small satellites and constellations of mini satellites.
The regional dimension of the Project is a core issue, as it constitutes the main framework for analysing Kenyan regulation of space activities. In this light, the bilateral relations between Italy and Kenya are considered in the wider context of the development of space activities in Africa and their governance.
The Report is divided into six sections.
Section one provides an overview of the origins and evolution of the space sector in African countries by highlighting the main elements of the path toward the establishment of national space ecosystems. In this light, also the social and economic aspects of space activities in Africa are addressed. Finally, particular attention is devoted to the features of the interaction between the governments and the private sector in shaping the African space ecosystem.
Section two introduces the evolution of space governance in Africa. It highlights the need for coordination and synergy that, starting from sub-regional forms of cooperation, has brought the AU to engage in space activities. In order to frame the context in which these are governed at the continental level, the section also provides an overview of the path of regional integration in the continent, starting from the creation of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to the current institutional framework at the regional and sub-regional levels.
Section three outlines the policy objectives of the African space programme. It identifies the connections between space activities and sustainable development objectives that led the AU to include outer space among the Flagship Projects of Agenda 2063 and provides an analysis of the context and content of the African Space Policy and Strategy.
Section four introduces a further element of the institutional space governance at the regional level by retracing the origins and establishment of the African Space Agency (AfSA). Furthermore, it analyses the objectives set forth in the AfSA Statute, the role of the Agency in promoting and coordinating the implementation of the African Space Policy and Strategy and provides a state-of-the-art of the implementation of the AfSA Statute.
Section five moves from the regional to the national dimension of the governance of space activities by introducing a breakdown of African countries based on the approach to their regulation. The normative governance of space activities at the national level is diversified, ranging from the adoption of space policies and strategies, the establishment of national space agencies or Centres in order to support the development of the respective space programmes, to the adoption of rules on specific activities (e.g., remote sensing) or more detailed space legislation.
Section six focuses on the existing forms of space cooperation between Europe and Africa, with a particular focus on Italy-Kenya cooperation in view of the framework in which the Report has been drafted. In this light, the Report clearly highlights that space activities conducted by African countries have always been characterized by a marked international character, viewing African countries as becoming partners of spacefaring nations in cooperative endeavours.