This year’s NewSpace Africa Conference saw a high-level gathering of industry leaders, decision-makers, commercial space companies, investors, and other key stakeholders to discuss innovative ways to turn Africa into a reputable space power.
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In the past decade, African countries have increased participation in the space scene and, as a result, are enjoying a corresponding boom in the commercialisation of space. This boom is also evident as it has translated into creating about half of the NewSpace companies operational in the continent.
Commenting on the opportunities in space business, Mr Stéphane Konan, the founder of Shield Africa, one of the companies exhibiting during the conference, urged African governments to provide technical and financial support to African startups.
“Africa must focus on the development of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) in the space sector,” Mr Konan said, “Collaborative and partnership approaches have proven to be one of the most successful ways to achieve common goals in the space industry. It’s a sector worth investing in.”
Space is already a tangible reality in Africa, he said. The geographical characteristics of the continent justify the use of space means to observe, communicate, position and navigate. Tapping into space technology will bring effective responses to the fight against terrorism, piracy and the looting of natural resources as well as identifying illegal migration corridors.
In 2019, the African space industry was worth $7.37 billion and it is estimated to reach $10.24 billion by 2024, about 40% growth. This provides an immense business opportunity for various new multi-million-dollar investments and limitless opportunities for stakeholders and investors in the sector.
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Shied Africa provides a platform where African decisionmakers meet with key industry players to share experiences and solutions regarding security matters. The forthcoming Shied Africa international exhibition on security will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It will be looking at space as a new security and future challenge in Africa under the theme “Space, the next frontier for African development”. Cyber security and it’s key components such as ransomware, espionage, supply chain attacks and cloud surveillance will be a priority.
Tèrrorism and violent extremism are arguably Africa’s greatest security threats. During the NewSpace conference, African countries were urged to collaborate in collecting and analyzing data that can help security organs in countering terrorism.
ShieldAfrica was created in 2013 when there was no major defense and security platform in sub-Saharan Africa
“Regional cooperation between states is essential,” noted Konan. “Terrorists take advantage of the porous border points to plan their attacks. The breakthrough in this this fight lies in the means of monitoring communications and the exchange of adverse data. Defense and security agreements between states have to be well thought out so there is no possible sanctuary for the criminals.”
ShieldAfrica was created in 2013 in Abidjan at a time when there was no major defense and security platform in sub-Saharan Africa, as a forum where African decision makers would be able to meet with key industry players to share experiences, solutions and visions. The event has grown to become the main defense and security exhibition on the African continent.
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