Support to the air transport sector and satellite service applications

Satellite navigation workshop west and central Africa in Brazzaville - Congo

Brazzaville, the main city of Congo, hosted from 23rd to 25th of November 2016, a workshop on “the implementation of SBAS (satellite based Augmentation System) based on EGNOS, in Western and Central Africa”.

The workshop was organised jointly by EGNOS in Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO) and the Secretary General of ECCAC (Economic Community of Central African States) for the decision makers of Civil aviation authority of states member. The workshop was attended by about twenty participants coming from Cameroon, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Chad, Central Africa Republic, the secretaries of ECCAC and CEMAC, authorities and staff of civil aviation of Congo and the ASECNA representative in Congo which was very appreciate.

As you may know, workshops are organized by JPO with the collaboration of Regional Economic Community, and Kigali was the first city to host this type of workshop on August 2016 in favour to Eastern Africa countries.

The workshop opening ceremony was chaired by Mr Prosper BOUITY, Director of Cabinet office of the Ministry of transport, civil aviation and merchant marine of Congo. In his speech, he stressed on the interest for Africa to adopt satellite navigation technologies, especially the SBAS/EGNOS system to meet the challenges of rapidly increasing air traffic in Africa. After thanking organizers for the choice of Brazzaville to host this event, he encouraged participants to take profit of the three days to find all necessary means that will lead to the introduction of SBAS/EGNOS technology in Western and Central Africa in particular and more globally in Africa.

He reminded the importance of international cooperation and the strategic EU-Africa partnership which will facilitate the transfer of technologies such as EGNOS. He insisted on the necessity to look beyond civil aviation sector although it is the leading sector as many others sectors like maritime, agriculture, road, etc…, will benefit from SBAS technology notwithstanding new opportunities it will bring to innovative applications developers.

Although the main objective of the workshop was to reinforce capacities of stakeholders of Western and Central Africa states, in support to the decision making process in the sub-region, Mr BOUITY mentioned also the importance of global coordination framework between States in which JPO will play an important role that would be guaranteed through its institutionalisation.

Presentations of JPO experts allow to address different subjects including the improvement of safety thanks to international cooperation, the review of applications derived from GNSS/SBAS technologies and their benefits, the technological evolutions, the trend and other initiatives in Africa, as well as a case study of the introduction of EGNOS in Europe. The presentation of a roadmap proposed by JPO for the deployment of EGNOS in Africa, and the strategic approach of modular implementation sparked interest of participants as it helped in better understanding the mains guidelines for the future western and central Africa module.

Following intense discussions and debates, the Meeting ended with the adoption of a set of recommendations expressed and approved by participants for States consideration on smooth adoption of SBAS/EGNOS technology and the need for preparedness of States at an early stage.

Before bidding farewell to participants the Civil Aviation Authority Deputy Director of Congo, who chaired the closing ceremony on behalf of the Ministry, thanked all for their participation and contributions to the workshop.