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Success Stories

EU-Africa Cooperation on Secure Connectivity: 3 key takeaways from the Global Action event on IRIS² in Dakar

16 November 2023


On 24 October 2023, the EU Global Action on Space organised an event on the new EU‘s Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite or IRIS². This event was part of the first ever African Union – European Union Space Dialogue that took place in Dakar, Senegal from 24 to 26 October. The event aimed to showcase the possibilities offered by the new IRIS² Programme to African stakeholders in the field of satellite-based connectivity.

Over 80 participants listened to interventions of high-level speakers, including Catherine Kavvada, Director for Secure and Connected Space of the Directorate General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS), European Commission, Dr Souleymane Astou Diagne, Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital, Republic of Senegal, Maram Kaire, Director-General of the Senegalese Space Study Agency and Dr Tidiane Ouattara, Space Science Expert and Coordinator for GMES & Africa Programme, African Union Commission. 

During the event, representatives of the European and African continents pledged to strengthen their cooperation in the field of satellite connectivity, taking example on the successful partnership that they have built in the areas of earth Observation and Satellite Navigation.  


Defining the future of satellite-based communication, together

Bringing together the perspectives of the public and private sectors, the event demonstrated the range of applications that IRIS² offers, whether in synergy with other space components or in direct relation to businesses and citizens.


1. Co-design IRIS² solutions from the early stage

The concept of co-designing solutions was highlighted several times throughout the event, signalling shared awareness amongst representatives from the African Union and the European Union of the importance of taking into account the needs of African decision-makers, end-users and civil society when designing IRIS². Local know-how and experience were underlined as important tools that can help IRIS² better address the specific needs of the African continent.


2. Acknowledge the role of the private sector

The role of the private sector was also discussed during the event. The IRIS² constellation is to combine investments from both the public and the private sectors to ensure its development and roll out. In this respect, the successful deployment of IRIS² services in Africa cannot be achieved without the involvement of the continent‘s private sector as the latter will help provide and commercialise fast, secure and reliable IRIS²-related services in Africa.


3. Empower young and women entrepreneurs in the process

The roundtable between public institutions and the private sector highlighted the great importance of young and women entrepreneurs in shaping the development of connectivity services based on IRIS² technology. By involving young generations and female leaders in the development of IRIS²-based solutions, the European Union and the African Union will ensure that secure connectivity not only provides new commercial prospects to its end-users but also actively contributes to inclusivity in both continents.


What lies ahead

Building on the conclusions of the first AU-EU Space Dialogue, the European Commission will continue to work with its partners in Africa to explore all the opportunities for collaboration on IRIS² in line with the priorities of the twin green and digital transition and within the framework of the Global Gateway Strategy.


Read more about IRIS²

Read more about the Africa-EU Partnership

Explore our global market report for Africa

Read more about the Global Gateway Strategy


Credit: European Union