Joseph Abakunda

Joseph Abakunda

Chief Strategy Officer, Rwanda Space Agency

Joseph is currently the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) where he oversees the strategic direction of the agency and develops partnerships across the triple helix of industry, academia and government.

He is a Space Systems engineer and coordinated the drafting of Rwanda’s national space policy & strategy and brings over 10 years’ experience across both the upstream and downstream of the space value chain, policy & strategy as well as the utilization & applications of space technologies. 

He was also a member of the COVID-19 national task force as a technology project manager utilizing space technology in the planning & mitigation of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda as well as aiding contact tracing efforts. 

Before his current role as CSO, he was the National Coordinator for the Rwanda Space Program and Project Manager for RWASAT-1, Rwanda’s first satellite, a CubeSat developed in partnership with the University of Tokyo. He is also a ranking member of the National Space Working Group tasked with development of national space policies required for a vibrant space ecosystem. He also led efforts on behalf of the Government of Rwanda to become the 62nd member of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). 

Joseph currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for Digital Earth Africa and recently joined the third edition of the Karman Space Fellowship alongside 15 change-makers and global leaders who are shaping the future of space. 

In addition to being a licensed pilot, he holds a MSc in Space Systems & Business Engineering from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria as well.