President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania recently announced the country’s plan to construct its own satellite, marking a significant scientific milestone. Although details regarding the engineering team and hosting location were not disclosed during her speech at the launch of digital terrestrial television (DTT) by Azam Media, President Hassan assured the public that negotiations have already begun, indicating Tanzania’s preparedness for this venture.
If successful, Tanzania will join Kenya and Uganda, which have launched satellites into space in the past six months. The development of a satellite holds immense potential across various sectors. In the realm of communication, a satellite can improve connectivity in remote areas, bridge the digital divide, and enhance access to education and healthcare services.
Satellite data also proves invaluable in sectors such as agriculture, offering insights into soil moisture, vegetation health, and crop monitoring. This information enables informed decision-making in areas such as irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, empowering farmers.
Moreover, satellite technology plays a critical role in disaster management by facilitating early warning systems, efficient emergency response, and post-disaster assessment and recovery.
While Tanzania’s entry into space technology is noteworthy, it is worth noting that other African countries have successfully launched their own satellites to address societal challenges and drive progress. Egypt leads the region with nine launched satellites, followed by South Africa with eight, Algeria with seven, Nigeria with six, and Morocco with three. Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Kenya, Rwanda, and Mauritius have also made notable contributions.
Tanzania’s vision aligns with a growing interest from global investors, as demonstrated by Elon Musk’s expressed interest in launching his satellite internet constellation, Starlink, in the country. However, certain legal requirements need to be fulfilled before such projects can be launched, as emphasized by the Information, Communication, and IT minister, Nape Nnauye.