25 African Countries Meet in Kenya to Submit Notices for Space Satellite Launches, A First in More Than 20 Years.
20 February 2020
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– South Sudan to acquire resources for the first time as other countries choose new resources as replacements to their current unusable resources for Satellite Broadcasting.

20th February 2020 – Nairobi, Kenya: The African Telecommunications Union (ATU), in collaboration with Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radiocommunications Sector, has rallied thirty-one African countries – whose satellite resources have become unusable – to a special workshop to share the newly available resources and generate corresponding satellite notices to the ITU. These countries stand a chance to utilise new usable resources to launch satellite systems for satellite broadcasting services (aka satellite TV). Satellite notices are a legal way of requesting the ITU to process and formalise any change to the satellite resource plans.

According to the African Space Policy by the African Union, space communication is critical to the improvement of Africa’s economy and the quality of life of its people. Although Africa is one of the wealthiest continents in terms of natural resources and has a relatively high economic growth, it is, however, one of the poorest in terms of per capita income, with a relatively low level of gross domestic product.

Over 20 years ago, each African country was allocated equal share of the orbital slots, but half the continent did not follow on their allocated satellite resource which have now been rendered obsolete due to interference from other satellite networks and natural degradation.

“This workshop is part of the implementation of one of the decisions of the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) that was held for the first time in Africa, in 2019, in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt where ATU made a request to have a special window for generating the satellite notices”, said Mr. John OMO-Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union.

Globally, other continents are reaping benefits due to their advancements in satellite communication. For instance, the satellite industry is strategically important for Europe, supplying thousands of high-tech jobs, accounting for more than half of all commercial communications satellites in space with a value of over $21bn, enabling independent launch and defense capabilities and putting Europe at the leading edge of new ultramodern technologies.

“The space applications will be used to address the socio-economic developmental needs of Africa by providing critical information for evidence-based management of human habitats, ecosystems and natural resources”, said Mr. John OMO-Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union.

South Sudan, the newest country in Africa, will have their first chance to acquire the resources as they were not in existence at the time of establishing the plans.

Despite the continent’s challenges, some countries have exploited the resources by launching satellites into the designated orbital slots. South Africa was the first, launching a miniaturised satellite called SUNSAT, which was designed and manufactured in the country, in a NASA-sponsored launch in 1999. Other African countries followed those launching satellites for commercial and/or research purposes. They include Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Rwanda and Ethiopia.- Agencies