Space solutions can address economic development issues in Africa. While the region developed limited space capabilities prior to 2010, interest in space has been growing fast: space interests in Africa are mostly on Earth Observation, in particular for drought monitoring and natural resources mapping. There is also significant potential for applications for food security, agriculture and cattle farming.
Connectivity and broadband communications are other space-related areas with large potential in Africa. Most African countries rely on external partners for satellite connectivity, either by depending on foreign manufacturers or renting capacity from existing satellite operators.
With over 60% of the African population employed in agriculture, Earth Observation applications monitoring vital resources to boost food security also have high potential for the space industry. The development of products and services to respond to natural disasters derived from climate change are promising areas for businesses and the research community as well.
The recent EU space-based secure connectivity initiative represents the most recent opportunity for cooperation in space, an initiative indeed very important in support of the digital transformation of Africa. The African Union and some African countries are committing resources to the development of space programmes, with interesting potential for the EU and African space business ecosystems.