UK hosts Africa’s top space experts on tour of UK industry

Space experts from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa are touring the UK’s top space research, manufacturing and launch facilities.

Image: Plane Talking

Organised by Innovate UK and Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA), with support from the Research Institute of Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) – the delegation of African space innovators, entrepreneurs and government officials are this week meeting their British counterparts to share insights and explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

Taking place from 4 – 8 December 2023, the ‘UK-Africa Space-Technology Knowledge Exchange Tour’ includes a series of presentations, roundtable discussions, and site-visits across England and Scotland. Participants will examine the UK’s challenges, opportunities, and experiences in building sustainable space ecosystems. Avenues for joint research, development, and commercial partnership between the UK and Africa will also be discussed.

Alana Kruger, Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Manager for South Africa, commented on the tour by saying: “The UK is a world-leader in space, specifically in the manufacturing and launch capability fields, but also in areas such as finance, law, education, and ecosystem development. These are all components of a growing and sustainable space sector. Our focus is on giving our African partners an opportunity to interrogate how these elements contribute to a robust space ecosystem, and explore how they can apply similar strategies to spur industry growth at home.”

Joining the tour are representatives from the Kenyan and Rwandan national space agencies; academics from the universities of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Witwatersrand; and directors of African space startups such as Astrofica, AgriBORA Labs, Locus Dynamics, Sayari Labs, and Wanscan Consulting. They are accompanied by a team of sectoral experts from Innovate UK and RIIS.

Board Member of ZASPACE and managing director of Wanscan Consulting, Janusha Singh: “Joining this tour is an exciting opportunity to learn from the UK's advanced space industry. There are many up- and downstream opportunities for collaboration between our two industries, especially now as space technology starts playing a more prominent role in areas like agriculture and disaster management. I am looking forward to applying the knowledge and relationships gained on this trip, to enhance our own capabilities and boost South Africa’s contribution to the global space community.”