The Nigeria-South Africa Bi-Nationwide Fee is a laudable concept. It was established in 1999 to strengthen the connection between Nigeria and South Africa on commerce, financial system, politics and governance.
Nevertheless it has one lacking factor. That’s cooperation on house actions. Cooperation on house between the 2 international locations would advance the efforts of the African Outer Area Programme.
The house programme is without doubt one of the precedence areas of the Agenda 2063, the African Union’s framework for regional integration and socio-economic growth.
African Heads of States and Governments adopted the African Area Coverage and Technique in 2016. The coverage guides the implementation of the African Outer Area Programme. There’s additionally the African Area Company which was established in 2018 to coordinate house actions within the continent.
However the profitable implementation of the AU’s house programme relies on cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa. They’re the highest two international locations within the area by way of financial system, science and house.
Area cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa is just not solely advantageous by itself. It may be used to attain different objectives, together with job creation for each Nigerians and South Africans by way of joint analysis.
There are 4 thematic areas which may underpin their cooperation. They’re earth statement, satellite tv for pc communication, navigation and positioning, in addition to house science and astronomy.
Potential areas of cooperation
Earth Statement: This entails taking footage of the Earth floor from an elevated platform. These are then analysed, interpreted, and the findings used for coverage and determination making.
Amongst platforms which are used for taking these footage are balloons, plane, Excessive-Altitude Platforms (HAPs) and satellites. Of those, solely satellites are probably the most secure.
These polar-orbting satellites can be extra helpful to South Africa as a result of it’s nearer to the Antarctic. As well as, South Africa has the potential to course of, analyse and interpret information.
Cooperation on house between the 2 nations would give South Africa entry to photographs from these Nigerian satellites. Nigeria would, in flip, achieve entry to South Africa’s technical data.
Nigeria and South Africa are among the many 4 signatories to the African Useful resource Administration Constellation. Signatories donate a satellite tv for pc to the constellation, giving them entry to information from different satellites. Of the 4 signatories (Algeria and Kenya being the opposite two), solely Nigeria and South Africa have contributed satellites, although the satellites have handed their life-time. Nigeria-South Africa house cooperation could possibly be a step in direction of reviving the initiative.
Every nation would additionally profit from the opposite’s networks. However this might require that Nigeria and South Africa have a working information entry and sharing settlement. Nigeria is a part of the catastrophe monitoring constellation (DMC), alongside Algeria, Turkey and the UK. South Africa is a part of the BRICS distant sensing satellite tv for pc constellation.
Satellite tv for pc communication: That is used for long-distance communication and for connecting distant elements of a rustic. Satellite tv for pc communication providers in Nigeria and South Africa are largely run by overseas corporations.
In 2011, Nigeria procured from China a communication satellite tv for pc, Nigcomsat-1R. The target was to cut back communication prices and to extend rural connectivity.
South Africa is constructing its first communications satellite tv for pc, however that is being delayed by funding.
South Africa may licence Nigcomsat Restricted to function which may scale back the price of communication providers in South Africa.
Navigation and Positioning: The International Navigation Satellite tv for pc System is utilized in a lot of functions, together with precision agriculture, precise timing, and surveying.
The Chinese language and the European Union are pushing for his or her navigation satellite tv for pc providers for use throughout Africa. The EU has prolonged the operation of its Area-based augmentation system into Africa. China is advocating for using its Beidou system .
The interoperability and compatibility of those international navigation satellite tv for pc methods hasn’t been resolved. This leaves the African continent at a danger of errors, inconsistencies or whole lack of satellite tv for pc navigation providers.
Therefore, there’s an pressing want for African international locations to cooperate, coordinate and harmonise satellite tv for pc providers. South Africa and Nigeria can take the lead.
Area Science and Astronomy: Astronomy is the examine of objects and processes that happen exterior the Earth’s ambiance.
South Africa has a number of astronomical services. These embrace the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory; South African Giant Telescope; South African Radio-Astronomy Observatory; South African Astronomical Observatory; and SANSA Area Science (previously referred to as Hermanus Magnetic Observatory).
The South African Astronomical Observatory’s optical telescopes on the Sutherland station have been upgraded. They’ll now be operated remotely from wherever on the planet by way of the Web. Thus, astronomers in Nigeria can faucet into the South African telescopes from their desktop computer systems.
They solely want to barter observing slots with the South African Astronomical Observatory.
There’s rising curiosity in how the Solar impacts the Earth and its surroundings, known as Area climate. This phenomenon can disrupt energy provide and satellite tv for pc navigation indicators.
It’s subsequently mutually helpful for Nigeria and South Africa to cooperate on house climate and atmospheric analysis. This can additional their understanding of the photo voltaic climate phenomenon, predict its prevalence after which put together for it.
To facilitate house cooperation, there are some speedy actions Nigeria and South Africa may take.
These embrace establishing a Nigeria-South Africa Area discussion board. This can function a platform for interplay and exchanges between professionals from each international locations. An instance of such is the U.S-Japan Area Discussion board.
The discussion board may advise governments on widespread positions, together with coverage points resembling long-term sustainability of outer house and spectrum administration.
The cooperative settlement between Nigeria’s Nationwide Area Analysis and Improvement Company and the South African Nationwide Area Company must be strengthened.
Nigeria and South Africa may appoint consultants on house as science attachés of their respective embassies. This might guarantee speedy exchanges and obligatory help for visiting professionals.
Nigeria and South Africa have to develop a complete technique for house data and associated workforce growth. This features a evaluate of college curriculum in addition to the coaching programmes of establishments devoted to house training.