(Ecofin Agency) - In the last twelve months, several African countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Uganda, and Angola have launched satellites into space. Other countries such as Côte d'Ivoire and Tanzania are finalizing plans for the launch.
Tanzania plans to build its satellite, local media outlet The Citizen reported, quoting President Samia Suluhu Hassan (photo). Details such as the type of satellite or the engineering team were not disclosed. However, negotiations to realize this ambition are already underway, we learn.
The announcement comes at a time when African governments are showing increasing interest in space programs and increasing investment in the sector. According to the 2022 edition of Space In Africa's annual space industry report, the value of the industry is expected to reach $22.64 billion in 2026, up from $19.49 billion in 2021. The same report indicates that African nations allocated a total of $534.9 million to space programs in 2022 compared to $523.2 million in 2021.
In April 2023, the Ivorian government indicated its first satellite would be launched by August 2024. A few days earlier, Kenya launched its first satellite, Taifa-1. In the past 12 months, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Egypt, and Angola have also launched satellites. In addition, Russia is negotiating with some African countries like Algeria, Nigeria, and South Africa to help them build and launch satellites into space.
This surge in space investment in Africa comes in the context of accelerated digital transformation. Space technology could be used to improve the coverage of telecom and broadband Internet services, especially in rural or remote areas that are hardly accessible to mobile operators. Satellites can also be used for Earth observation to improve the performance of several sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, meteorology, natural resource management, security...
According to the latest figures from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the country has 61.9 million cell phone subscribers and 33.1 million Internet users.
Isaac K. Kassouwi