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US-Africa Space Forum Highlights Need to Strengthen Space Partnership, Welcomes 2 Countries to Artemis Accords

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The U.S.-Africa Space Forum held Tuesday highlighted the importance of the space partnership to strengthen commercial and scientific space cooperation and address challenges related to global food crises and climate change. 

Participants in the inaugural forum welcomed Nigeria and Rwanda as the first African countries to sign the Artemis Accords, bringing the total number of signatories of 23, the White House said Tuesday.

In 2020, NASA and its counterparts from seven countries launched the Artemis Accords to establish a set of principles to guide international cooperation to ensure peaceful exploration of the lunar surface and deep space.

Isa Ali Ibrahim, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, and Francis Ngabo, CEO of the Rwanda Space Agency, signed the Artemis Accords.

The 23 Artemis Accords signatories represent a diverse set of nations with a wide range of space capabilities and interests. The Accords support our activities in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, among other objectives,” Monica Medina, assistant secretary of State, said during her remarks.

“As we expand our cooperation and capabilities in outer space, we must commit to doing so responsibly. That’s why the Artemis Accords focus on peaceful space exploration,” she added.

The forum also cited the private sector’s role in advancing the partnership between the U.S. and Africa in the space domain. 

Some of the companies have announced plans to invest in the U.S.-Africa space partnership, including Atlas Space Operations, Planet Labs PBC and Zipline. Atlas, for instance, teamed up with the Rwanda Space Agency to build a large satellite antenna and teleport.