A $1BN agreement was recently inked by Djibouti and Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to construct a rocket and satellite launch site in Djibouti. The agreement, which was signed by the President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, and the Chinese company Hong Kong Aerospace Technology, will make way for the construction of the site’s infrastructure.
The project will include the construction of port facilities as well as transportation corridors in Djibouti’s Northern Obock. This is with an aim of facilitating the arrival of Chinese aerospace materials. President Guelleh has stated that the infrastructure could be completed as soon as 2027.
Djibouti will be granted ownership of the site when the 30-year co-management agreement with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology ends.
With barely over a million citizens, Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa. However, due to its proximity to the equator, it is an attractive site from which to launch satellites that may benefit from Earth’s rotational speed and use less fuel during ascent.
President Guelleh expressed his pleasure to see the country taking part in such a promising technological and energy development initiative.
Experts claim that none of the 54 satellites launched by African countries originated in Africa. This comes after African countries expressed interest in the design as well as the construction of satellites in the past.
After the deal, Djibouti will become the latest African country with an established space program. 14 African countries have successfully launched more than 50 satellites in recent years.
Temidayo Oniosun, managing director of the consultancy Space in Africa, said that the effort will facilitate the launch of the first Africa-made satellite from the African continent.
If the project is successful, it will also have a positive impact on the industry in a number of countries and segments. The project will result in the development of new enterprises. Additionally, it will also result in spinoffs and eventually be crucial to the implementation of a continental space program.
Several African countries are currently developing their space technology. This is because they need to strengthen their economies. Most modern devices, like mobile phones and navigational systems, rely on satellites to function.