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Nov 19, 2019

African countries are not traditionally known for having strong space programs but now as the cost of launching satellites into orbit falls, that's starting to change and Africa is becoming one of the fastest-growing space markets in the world.

In contrast to programs in the U.S., Europe or Russia where space initiatives are often research-driven, African policymakers tend to view the deployment of new satellites as infrastructure, just as it is to build roads, bridges and ports on the ground.

So, it's not surprising then that the Chinese are playing an increasingly important to finance, build and launch African satellites into orbit.

Earlier this month, the new Sudan Remote Sensing Satellite (SRSS-1) blasted off from the Taiyuan Launch Center in China's Shanxi province. This satellite, built by the Chinese for the Sudanese government, will be used for both civilian and military purposes.

Next month, China will launch a similar satellite but this time for the Ethiopian government.

In just the past 12-18 months, the Chinese have announced space initiatives with Egypt, South Africa, Angola, Namibia and Kenya among others.

While the Chinese are no doubt becoming a major player in the African space sector, they are by no means alone. In fact, whereas the Chinese dominate Africa's terrestrial infrastructure development, that's not the case in the space market where the Europeans, Americans, and Russians are also very active, according to Temidayo Oniosun, founder and Managing Director of the news and analysis website Space in Africa.

Temidayo joins Eric & Cobus to discuss China's role in the burgeoning African space market.

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