The African space industry is enjoying enormous growth, according to the recently published African Space Industry Annual Report.
The African space market is now worth over $7 billion annually, says the report, published by news resource Space in Africa (africanews.space), which projects that it is likely to exceed $10 billion by 2024.
From 1998 through April 2019, the report says, 32 satellites were launched into orbit by eight African countries: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. In addition to the 32 national satellites, African institutions jointly funded three other satellite projects – RASCOM-QAF1, RASCOM-QAF1R, and New Dawn – for regional operations, bringing the total number of satellites to 35.
Fifteen of the 35 satellites were launched in the last four years. The diverse satellite programmes include 14 earth observation satellites, 10 communications satellites, eight technology demonstration satellites, a satellite for scientific experiments, an educational project satellite, and a military radar satellite.
Major and emerging commercial ventures operating in Africa involved in the space industry value chain cross multiple operational sub-sectors. Commercial space companies such as Egypt’s publicly traded satellite operator Egyptian Satellite Co (Nilesat), Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), NewSpace Systems, SCS Space, and Space Advisory Company are now generating revenue.
The industry’s growth is driven by growing private economies, complemented by national and regional strategic priorities. There are also multiplying business opportunities for local and foreign companies across the various subsectors of the African space industry. About 8,500 people work across the African space industry.