Pan African University Institute for Space Sciences
The HRST Commissioner, H.E. Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga had a working mission to the Republic of South Africa on 2nd and 3rd March 2015, to discuss the hosting of the Pan African University Institute for Space Sciences. This follows the decision for South Africa to host the Institute on behalf of the Southern Africa Region, thus completing the hosting of the first five PAU Institutes. Commissioner was accompanied by the Head of Education Division; Acting Vice Rector PAU; Senior Legal Officer, PAU and the Commissioner’s Special Assistant.
The Commissioner met with senior officials from the Ministries responsible for Higher Education and Training; Science and Technology and International Relations and Cooperation. Presentations were made explaining the concept and governance of the PAU; as well as expectations of the South African government and institutions as the host of the PAU Space Institute, ensuring a common understanding on these issues. A tentative roadmap towards the operationalization of the Institute was discussed and agreed, and it will be finalized by the South African team.
In the cordial discussions, it was agreed that there is need to have a robust communication campaign to bring all key African stakeholders up to date with the understanding of the immense value and breadth of applications for space sciences and related technologies. This includes issues of early warning for natural and human made disasters, weather and environmental surveillance and management among others. To this end, the Commission is collaborating with South Africa to produce a publicity video and flyer to be shared at the AU Summit in June 2015.
The Commissioner also informed the South African team that the USA and EU had expressed interest in being thematic partners for this programme, and that there would be a meeting soon to agree on a way forward.
It is hoped that some of the operational agreements will be signed soon, and the process of curriculum development will begin, in order to expedite admission of the first students in January 2016.
African Union Commission