The African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government during their Twenty-Sixth Ordinary Session on 31 January 2016 in Addis Ababa adopted the African Space Policy and Strategy as the first of the concrete steps to realize an African Outer space Programme, as one of the flagship programmes of the AU Agenda 2063.
In October 2019, the AU published an update, the "AU African Space Strategy" ("African Space Strategy: Towards Social, Political and Economic Integration") and the "AU African Space Policy" ("African Space Policy: Towards Social, Political and Economic Integration").
The strategy is based on the following insight (Strategy, p.6, emphasis added):
Africa has an opportunity to exploit its geographic position and natural resources to promote economic growth, improve the quality of life of its people, and contribute to scientific knowledge. At the same time, Africa is facing major challenges in food security, rapid urbanisation, the sustainable use of the environment, and the need to educate a growing population. Economic, political, environmental and social reforms can make an impact only if there is concerted effort to build indigenous skills and technological capabilities that provide effective solutions to the challenges. These challenges have long been recognised and many policy frameworks have been developed in response.
Active participation in the development of space-related applications and services will enable the continent to address them, meet the objectives of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, make a significant contribution to the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA), take advantage of new opportunities offered by our geographic advantages, and become a global space player. The successful implementation of these frameworks is highly dependent on space technologies and applications. Access to sound, secure spatial data for decision-making will require an indigenous space programme and local capabilities. Africa cannot afford to remain a net importer of space technologies, as in the long term this will limit socio-economic development and negate the African Union vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”