The African Space Generation Workshop (AF-SGW) topics play an integral role in providing invaluable insights about the space industry through working group discussions. Guided by a moderator, and advised by subject matter experts, delegates engage in collaborative discussions which form the basis of a report containing recommendations for the African space sector.

Delegates are assigned to one of 4 working groups geared towards tackling specific issues pertaining to the role of space in the African region. At the end of the AF-SGW, each group will have the opportunity to present their recommendations to the wider workshop audience.

Reports from all working groups are also compiled by rapporteurs and moderators and delivered to the SGAC Executive Team after thorough review. These reports are eventually presented to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) in the form of recommendations and included in the SGAC Annual Report.

Overall, the working group discussions ignite a pathway for business ideas, conference papers and research for matters related to space and produce recommendations to relevant public, private and non-governmental sectors, helping to shape the future of the African space industry.

Working Group 1:  Space Law and Policy in Africa

The growth of the global space sector in the last 20 years, spurred by the competitiveness of telecommunications and defence industries, has led to a shift from a state-centric, geopolitically-motivated mode of space innovation, to a private commercial focus. With the latest surge in innovative space applications, especially in satellite and launch technology, governments and civil society alike are starting to see the potential to harness this technology to focus on national priorities and solve problems. To achieve this, a high degree of cooperation will be required between governments, industry and civil society.

The space law & policy working group looks at policies that give effect to this movement, and the need to adapt to accommodate this new paradigmParticipants in this working group will discuss the challenges of space law as applicable to Africa, and develop an implementation pathway for potential space legislation and policy at both national and continental levels. Delegates would be encouraged to learn from this experience and conduct similar studies for their own regions and countries, as appropriate.

Working Group 2: Space Business and Entrepreneurship

As more countries continue to participate in the exploration of space and its attendant benefit in terms of infrastructure, it has become extremely important that Africa properly understands how to tailor its involvement in the industry towards the socio-economic development of the continent. The sector supports an ever-increasing range of downstream products and services across multiple users and markets; emphasizing the need to prepare towards leveraging the growing business opportunities in the industry.

The recent emergence of nano-satellites and the overall reduction in prices regarding satellite components and launching facilities has enabled developing countries to gain access to space. The space business and entrepreneurship working group will focus on identifying value chains, learning and business opportunities, and prospects to equip Africans with the necessary skills and knowledge for a development-oriented participation in space missions.

Working Group 3: STEAM and Outreach – The Crucial Role of the Youth in the Space Sector

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) form the foundation of space science and are critical to the economic development of Africa. Africa is endowed with an abundance of resources, including human resources, but lack of adequate attention to STEAM has lead to a reliance on external support to manage and utilize these resources that would propel Africa to a globally competitive level.

The young generation is a crucial factor in the progress and development of the space sector in Africa. Their talent, passion, new perspectives, and their ability to cope better with the fast paced technology revolution has resulted in a unique ability to come up with innovative solutions and push the space industry forward in a continent with high youth population but limited financial resources. Additionally, the youth involvement in this field will define the future of the space sector at large.

This working group, therefore, explores the challenges and opportunities available (particularly for the youth, women and marginalized groups) in STEAM for Africa and how space science and outreach activities can help Africa reach its full economic potential through incorporation of STEAM in the provision of solutions to the daily socio-economic problems of Africa.

Working Group 4: Space Technology to Support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

African countries have in recent years developed a greater interest in cubesats as an simpler, faster, cheaper technology with the ability to contribute to the sustainable development of the continent. With great support and cooperation from international agencies, the continent has seen great advancement in the use of space technology in solving some of the most common challenges that African countries face. These challenges are described through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a result, cubesats have evolved from just educational and new technologies validation tools to a useful data acquisition tool providing relevant information on the major challenges that the African continent is currently facing.

Equipping students, young professionals and upcoming experts with the knowledge and experience they need to get acquainted with the design and development phases of space systems is key, particularly for the African continent in developing the capacity to resiliently face these challenges through the use of space technologies. Cubesats are not the only accessible space technologies and data which African nations can leverage to support the SDGs. 

This working group will focus on how the African continent can capitalize on the various space technologies, with a special focus on cubesats, to attain the SDGs. Key SDGs which can most be affected by space technologies will be identified, as well as the challenges and advantages of the applications of said technologies to each of the selected SDGs by the year 2030.