Dakar, Senegal, 24 March 2015/ GPS World: The SAFIR (Satellite navigation services for AFrIcan Region) project has officially launched the EGNOS-Africa Joint Programme Office, laying the first stone of its future office building in a ceremony in Dakar, Senegal.
SAFIR is part of the Africa-EU long-term strategic partnership to enhance safety in air transport. Its global objective is to build capacity within African ACP countries for the future deployment of GNSS/EGNOS in the region. The three-year project is funded by the European Union and financed from the 10th EDF Intra ACP envelope with 3.7 million euros, under an international consortium led by ASECNA (Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation Aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar) with Egis, Pildo Labs and ESSP.
The ceremony took place in Dakar on March 3. Those attending included Matthias Petschke, EU Satellite Navigation Programmes director; Karolina Stasiak from the UE Delegation in Sénégal; and Amadou Ousmane Guittèye, director general of ASECNA.
“Satellite navigation can bring huge societal benefits, be it in transport, in agriculture or land management,” Petschke said in remarks at the launch ceremony. “Satellite-based augmentation systems in particular, like EGNOS, can bring enormous social and economic benefits. I attach, therefore, great importance to the setting up of the EGNOS Africa Joint Programme Office and am particularly pleased to see this team of African experts who have extensive experience and knowledge to support the development of an African satellite based augmentation system.”
In his speech, Guittèye said, “The first mission of the JPO is to ensure Africa has developed adequate competencies and then to coordinate the implementation of the development and of the deployment of GNSS/EGNOS services and applications in the continent. The EGNOS-Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO) is a pan-African entity that acts for the benefit of Africa and supports stakeholders in their GNSS/EGNOS strategy, developments and implementation.”
The ceremony also was attended by officials from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the Agence Nationale de l’Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie (ANACIM) , the Aéroports du Sénégal (ADS) and local authorities.
The SAFIR project began on January 15, 2013. It covers the set-up, staffing and operations of an EGNOS-Africa Joint Programme Office, and sets up and supports a number of technical working sessions composed of regional stakeholders concerned with GNSS/EGNOS in sub-Saharan Africa.
ASECNA has 18 member states. With air navigation safety as its main mission, it cooperatively manages African airspace for the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea , Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo.