ECCAS, JPO sign memorandum of cooperation
July 26, 2016 marked the beginning of cooperation between the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the EGNOS in AFRICA Support Programme -Joint Programme Office (JPO) with the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation by the two organisations. At the ceremony, ECCAS was represented by its Secretary General, His Excellency Ambassador Ahmad Allam-Mi, and JPO was represented by its Director, Mr Ladislaus Matindi.
The signed Memorandum of Cooperation will guide collaboration between the two organisations in the field of satellite navigation, specifically on the potential implementation and operation of GNSS/EGNOS in ECCAS Member States and its applications in all sectors: aviation, maritime, rail, road, agriculture and land management, etc.
The Joint Office EGNOS-Africa Programme (JPO) is a Pan-African “instrument” for coordination and support to the implementation of GNSS/EGNOS and the provision of related services in Africa. As an outcome of cooperation between Africa and the European Union, the JPO was established in December 2013 with an initial objective of capacity building for Africa within the framework of an intra-ACP programme “Support to Aviation Sector and Satellite Services in Africa”. JPO has notably developed a roadmap for the implementation of EGNOS in Africa for the benefit of all stakeholders including the Member States. In 2016, the JPO entered a second operational phase under the ‘Support EGNOS in Africa Programme’ which is financed by the EU with a contribution by ASECNA.
To provide some background: the conclusion of this agreement follows several meetings held at thematic workshops both on technical and institutional issues, which were organized across Africa in 2014 and 2015 within the framework of the SAFIR project, as well as other exchanges and consultations, including a meeting in March 2015 that brought together a delegation of JPO and ECCAS experts under the supervision of DIPEM1 and concluded with an address by the then Deputy Secretary General (SGA/DPBARH).
Thanks to this agreement, preparatory work for the creation of a regional module (Western and Central Africa) which will be in charge of the implementation of SBAS/EGNOS services can be launched. The main focus will be on capacity building in member countries through workshops, awareness-raising activities on EGNOS and its applications and collaboration in studies related to the SBAS/EGNOS programme.
As highlighted by the SGA during her audience with the JPO Delegation led by its Deputy Director: “It is important to take into consideration the need for coordination between ECCAS, CEMAC, ECOWAS and UEMOA in the implementation of EGNOS.” This is even more true since the SBAS/EGNOS system has been primarily designed as a tool for regional integration.