Rwanda and Nigeria to sign Artemis Accords

Rwanda and Nigeria have become the first two African nations to sign te Artemis Accords, bringing the number of signatories to this American-led alliance to 23.

Neither Nigerian nor Rwandan officials described in detail any plans to participate in Artemis at the signing ceremony, but at the Secure World Foundation event, a State Department official said that is not a condition for signing the Accords.

“We continue to encourage all responsible spacefaring nations to sign the Accords, and we also encourage countries that are just developing their space sector to also consider signing,” said Kristina Leszczak of the State Department’s Office of Space Affairs. “We stress that interested countries do not need to come to the table with existing space capabilities or even near-term plans to contribute to Artemis. We find this opens the conversation up to a much more diverse group.”

The full list of signatories so far: Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the Ukraine, and the United States.

The accords, bi-lateral agreements between each nation and the U.S., were designed during the Trump administration to emphasize the rights of private investors in space and thus do an end-around of the Outer Space Treaty. Under the Biden administration it is no longer clear if that remains the goal. The existence of a signed alliance led by the U.S. and the capitalistic west however gives the U.S. the political force to protect those rights, assuming the American government is interested in the future in doing so.