The Astronomy in Africa Business meeting was hosted at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town on 25-26 March 2019. The meeting focused on strategy, policy, and governance issues related to the field and plan the future of astronomy on the continent. It also relaunched the African Astronomical Society (AfAS), a professional astronomy society, with a clear mandate.
The discussions leveraged on the massive international projects such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and African VLBI Network which will soon have African countries and scientists leading cutting edge research. These are complemented by capacity building efforts training young Africans in astronomy, engineering and related fields, such as the DARA Newton Fund program. The African science community and international commitment to astronomy in Africa recently received a boost when Cape Town was chosen to host the biggest conference in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union General Assembly (IAU GA), in 2024. This will be the first time that the GA is hosted in Africa since the founding of the IAU in 1919 and presents an opportunity for the continent to demonstrate to the world its prowess in one of the most technical scientific fields.
Around 80 delegates from 20 different countries were present at the Astronomy in Africa meeting in Cape Town, including astronomy researchers and stakeholders from government and research institutions. Anyone interested in Astronomy in Africa could provide input online. An informal day of discussions and networking to explore collaborative opportunities between space and astronomy communities preceded the meeting on Sunday, 24 March.