Minister of Higher Education Participates in Activities of High Level Europe Africa Space Earth Observation Forum in Portugal
Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, stressed the importance of supporting and revitalizing African-European relations in the field of space technologies. He noted that building a strong and fair partnership in the field of space would be beneficial to all parties and would help in stabilizing African countries, achieving sustainable development goals and improving life for all inhabitants of the continent.
This came during the minister's participation on Friday in the activities of the high level Europe-Africa Space Forum which was attended by Dr. Mohamed El-Qousy, President of the Egyptian Space Agency, and was held in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, from June 10 -11, 2021. The forum was organized by Portugal as president of the Council of the European Union and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, with the support of the European Commission and was attended by Mr. Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal, officials of the European Union Commission and the African Union, and a number of African ministers of higher education, science and technology, and those of other countries of the world such as Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
During his speech, the Minister thanked Portugal, as President of the Council of the European Union for organizing this important forum and for taking this major initiative. He pointed out the holding of the first African-European summit between Africa and the European Union in Cairo in 2000, and the second summit in Lisbon in December 2007 during which the Joint EU-Africa Strategy, Plan of Action and Lisbon Declaration were adopted.
Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar pointed out that Egypt will host the headquarters of the African Space Agency in which all 54 African countries will be represented, as well as equipping the Egyptian Space City with the main and latest space facilities and technologies.
In his speech, the minister also stressed that Egypt attaches great importance to strengthening its relations with sisterly African countries in the field of space activities to face the challenges of climate change, as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed during Egypt's presidency of the African Union in 2019 our commitment to this cooperation. The minister pointed out that a lot of measures were adopted in the early and final stages to build a solid space infrastructure in schools and universities and to encourage scientific research in Egypt.
The Minister also emphasized that by adopting comprehensive space cooperation with Africa, many key issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals and African Space Agenda 2063 can be addressed and facilitated in an appropriate manner, and major challenges such as poverty and illegal immigration can be identified and resolved. He added that there is a need for innovation, smart methods and new tools to meet the challenges of the continent.
At the conclusion of his speech, the minister stressed that the African Space Agency will be an essential accelerator tool for cooperation with Europe, and that Egypt will spare no effort in strengthening multilateral cooperation in the space field. He pointed out that all facilities and infrastructure for space projects are available in Egypt, and we are ready to become a reliable partner. He added that all support will be provided to brothers in Africa to benefit from space technology and applications, calling on the European Union to discuss the establishment of the "European-African Space Training Program" in Egypt and stressing that the Egyptian Space Agency will provide full logistical support for this program which can provide annual training courses and qualification degrees to African students and researchers.
It is worth noting that the forum aims to discuss issues related to space in light of digital transformation, as well as issues related to earth. This helps in promoting sustainable development, creating job opportunities, developing skills, as well as strengthening European-African cooperation in Earth observation, treatment systems and their applications.