We are planning to have four two-hour sessions, and one hour at the end for general discussions, for a total of 9 hours over two days. Within each session there will be invited speakers for up to 30 minutes for each speaker and contributed talks for up to 15 minutes (including questions). In the last hour of the meeting we will have a round table which will draw conclusions and stimulate some thorough discussions.
Session 1: Enabling astronomy research with optical telescopes in Africa
This session will include recent developments with ground-based optical telescopes in Africa, networking telescopes across the African continent to promote collaboration and exploit transient and time-domain astronomy, and assigning science goals and future directions for research enabled by African telescopes. These facilities can also provide vital training and experience in observations and instrumentation to early-career researchers across Africa.
Session 2: Astronomical observatory sites in Africa
This session will include protecting existing observatory and dark sky sites in Africa as well as identifying and characterizing new observatory sites through site testing. It will also highlight the importance of astronomical sites and dark skies for socio-economical and environmental developments in Africa and worldwide.
Session 3: Future plans for development of new African facilities
This session will give a general summary of current and future developments in optical astronomy, including (but not only) the following:
- Robotic telescopes.
- The Egyptian Large Optical Telescope (ELOT) plans.
- The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) status, science results and future capabilities.
- The Lalibela (Ethiopia) Infrared and optical telescope status, site testing results and future science plans.
Session 4: Benefits of optical astronomy facilities.
This session will include the following:
- The impact of astronomical infrastructure on African socio-economical and environmental development.
- The effect of small and medium-sized telescopes for outreach and education in Africa.