EGNOS in AFRICA: a major milestone reached with ASECNA (Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation Aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar)

Posted on: June 27, 2016

The European Commission has launched in 2011 the EGNOS service to aviation, which is now fully operational. The capacity to provide operational services above the African territories has already been technically explored years ago. Moreover the intense activity deployed during the last years under the leadership of the European Commission (DG DevCo and DG GROW) resulted in concrete outcomes such as the inclusion of this initiative in the Second Action Plan of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership.

Simultaneously ASECNA (Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation Aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar), a major regional organization with 18 Members States has recognized the importance of the initiative for Africa. Indeed the Agency is vested with the responsibility of cooperative management of a large airspace (1,5 time the area covered by Europe) and is the main Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) of the Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) Region. ASECNA and its Member States decided to act as precursors for a pan-African implementation aiming at proving initial services in the short term in its area of responsibility.

Based on their joint willingness ASECNA, the European Commission and the EU Member States have initiated in Brussels in March 2015, the subject of an international agreement for the development of satellite navigation and the provision of services based on EGNOS and GALILEO .The main round of negotiations was concluded in Dakar last April and the draft agreement initialed in Brussels on May 12 (Dernière ligne droite vers un accord ASECNA/UE). The objective is now to have the agreement concluded and enter into force before the end of the year.

This major milestone confirms the importance of satellite navigation to reduce the cost of safety of air navigation services, to improve flight efficiency and accessibility to regional airports, and to contribute to economic growth and international trade.

More globally the initiative EGNOS in Africa has received high political attention from the European Union and the African Union. The adoption of the Roadmap (2014-2017) in Brussels EU-Africa Summit in April 2014 gave political impetus to the cooperation on satellite navigation. It has allowed the implementation of the “Joint Programme Office” (JPO) in Dakar in charge of coordinating the development of EGNOS in Africa. The related services will provide the means to sustainable development in Africa with considerable benefits, supporting regional integration and promote the integration of Africa. It will facilitate transport between the capitals and outlying regions in each African country and their economic development while it will probably open the African market to European technologies.

SUCCESS is a project providing expert support to the European Commission in the field of international activities related to EU GNSS programmes. As such it contributes actively to the elaboration and implementation of the cooperation programme towards the extension of EGNOS service coverage to the African continent.