Nigeria and Rwanda Become the First African Countries to Sign the Artemis Accords

Nigeria and Rwanda Become the First African Countries to Sign the Artemis Accords

The Nigerian government signed the Artemis Accords yesterday, December 13th, 2022, at the ongoing US-Africa Leaders’ Forum (USALF) in Washington DC, United States of America. President Joe Biden of the United States hosted the Summit, which brought together leaders from across Africa.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, who also announced the country’s partnership with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to provide broadband access throughout Nigeria, signed the agreement on the country’s behalf.

Nigeria will now participate in the next phase of space exploration, which will be coordinated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (NASA).

In the same vein, Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced his country’s endorsement of the Accords.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves all spoke at the event. Nigeria and Rwanda were the first two African countries to sign the Accord, as well as the world’s 22nd and 23rd.

“I’m thrilled Nigeria and Rwanda are committing to the safe, sustainable use of outer space,” said Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator. Today’s signings highlight a growing commitment to ensuring responsible space exploration in an era when more nations than ever have space programs.”

He equally noted, “as the first African nations to sign the Artemis Accords, Nigeria and Rwanda exemplify the global reach of the accords and are demonstrating their leadership in space exploration.”

Nigeria, Rwanda Become First African Countries To Sign NASA Artemis Space  Accords - Heritage Times

What you should know about the Artemis Accords

NASA established the Artemis Accords in 2020 as a set of principles to guide the next phase of space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

According to Femi Adeluyi, the Minister’s Technical Assistant (Research & Development), the Accords also serve to reinforce the United States and signatory nations’ commitment to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, and the guidelines and best practices that NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.

The Minister also announced Nigeria’s partnership with SpaceX, announcing that the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector had approved their application as a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Operator. As part of the agreement, Space X will provide broadband access throughout Nigeria, enabling nationwide broadband connectivity well ahead of the December 2025 deadline outlined in our National Broadband Plan.

Nigeria will be the first African country to launch the service thanks to this collaboration with SpaceX’s Starlink.

After a few administrative processes are completed, the nationwide rollout will take place before the end of 2022.

The announcement was made during the US-Space Forum, where Professor Pantami also spoke.