The pace for space exploration has been an issue that was given due attention primarily by the then developed countries as early as the 1950’s. The United States of America and Russia were prime examples that have invested and gained success in this regard. It was later joined by other European and Asian countries by understanding space industry are the future world resource. On the other hand, Africa as a continent was way behind from the rest of the world in space exploration and space infrastructure developments until recently. Nevertheless, few African nations such as South Africa, Egypt, have entered into the race on their own and through collaboration with space pioneers. Afterwards they were followed by Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria, Angola, Ghana and other newly emerging countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Because space program by its nature requires huge investment in manpower, infrastructure development and technology, collaboration and coordination of efforts and resources becomes a necessity. Towards this effect, political leaders of the aforementioned countries took the initiative and established a regional institution, named as African Leadership Conference (ALC).
The ALC was established in 2005 in Nigeria by space enthusiastic political leaders of few African countries, scientists and supporters with the aim of creating partnerships to realize the aspiration of African countries and use space science and technology to support Africa’s development. Since then, the African Leadership Conferences on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable development was held seven times: Nigeria -2005, South Africa – 2007, Algeria – 2009, Kenya – 2011, Ghana – 2013, Egypt – 2015 and again in Nigeria – 2018. During this period, the ALC has contributed to African countries by helping to create partnership among themselves and has come to be a representative African space forum in the global space community. Furthermore, the ALC helped and encouraged African countries to be active participants in the exploration and use of the space for socioeconomic development. It also has initiated and supported launching of an African Resource Management Constellation project.
During the 7th ALC conference held in Abuja, a resolution was passed to change the ALC to African Space Leadership congress (ASLC) and to adopt a constitution on its 8thmeeting that will be held in 2019 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The goals of ASLC are: to encourage greater regional and intra-African cooperation in space science and technology by serving as a think-tank for developing strategies and projects; to inform and coordinate greater cooperation between and among relevant institutions, agencies and governments; to identify flagship programs to be considered, adopted and implemented at various levels across Member States, Regional Economic Communities, and the AU and assist in the development of an indigenous space industrial capability through promoting greater public-private partnerships. Engaging women and the youth for the development of future African space leaders is also another ASLC’s goal.