Rwanda has announced plans to launch its own space satellite working together with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the project.
To this end, Transform Africa, an annual ICT summit, has been scheduled for May this year in Kigali, making it the first satellite to be launched in 2019 ahead of Ethiopia’s launch in September, according to the Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA).
“We are trying to shorten the timeline. It will be launched after the Transform Africa summit,” said Patrick Nyirishema, RURA’s Director General.
Five Rwandan engineers are working with their Japanese counterparts at the University of Tokyo on the design and construction of the satellite, which is expected to provide the government with data to help it plan well in various sectors including agriculture and predicting weather patterns, while fifteen other engineers are also set to be trained locally in satellite technology.
“Satellite technology will not only build capabilities for our people, it will also give us capacity, for instance, to inspect certain activities within the agriculture sector, monitor wetlands as part of environment conservation efforts, and in smart urban planning,” Nyirishema pointed out.
Other African countries which have satellites orbiting the earth include Ethiopia, Zimbabwe Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt .