Tanzania builds a team to assess national satellite needs

By : Samira Njoya

Date : vendredi, 23 juin 2023 12:19

Over the past few years, Tanzania has taken steps to orbit its satellite. But, in recent months, it is stepping up initiatives to speed up the process. 

Tanzania has set up a special government team to study the country’s needs in preparation for the construction of a national satellite.  Its Deputy Minister of Information, Communication, and Technology Kundo Mathew said as much on Monday, June 19 at the opening of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) 2023 Annual Conference, which runs until today, Friday, June 23 in Arusha.

“...We are taking time to identify our needs for the proposed National Satellite. We are mulling the intended use for the Tanzanian Satellite, will it be just for patrolling our skies, or safeguarding our resources from the air; maybe also monitoring the country’s borders digitally?” said Minister Kundo Mathew.

There are areas dotted with big hills and mountains where it becomes impossible for the fiber optic cables to be laid through, these are where the satellite will take over to spread digital waves,” he added.

Tanzania's announcement comes at a time when African governments are showing increasing interest in space programs and stepping up investment in the sector. According to the 2022 edition of Space In Africa's annual report on the African space industry, the value of the industry is expected to reach $22.64 billion in 2026, up from $19.49 billion in 2021. The same report indicates that African nations allocated a total of $534.9 million to space programs in 2022, compared with $523.2 million in 2021.

The satellite that the Tanzanian government plans to launch will complement the 758 communication towers erected throughout the country and the 600 others to be installed soon. 

It could thus be used to improve coverage of telecoms and broadband Internet services, particularly in rural or remote areas that are hardly accessible to mobile operators. These efforts will help reduce the digital divide and improve access to education and health services. According to the latest statistics from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the country has 61.9 million cell phone subscribers and 33.1 million Internet users.

Samira Njoya


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