According to the World Association of Telephone Operators, 206 million inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa were not covered at all by a mobile network in 2020. The Rwandan government wants to bet on satellite to accelerate penetration telecom services.
The Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA) on Monday, June 6. As part of this partnership, the two parties will explore ways to improve satellite communication services and accelerate digital inclusion plans in Rwanda and on the African continent.
The agreement will mainly focus on key areas such as supporting the deployment of satellite communication services in Rwanda and preserving access to satellite spectrum. It will also focus on preserving access to orbital slots reserved for developing countries, cooperation with African space agencies and the promotion of satellite communication services in Rwanda and Africa.
This collaboration comes two years after the establishment of the Rwandan Space Agency by the government of Paul Kagame, making Rwanda one of the African countries to have such a structure. The list includes Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, among others.
In its report “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2021”, the World Association of Telephone Operators (GSMA) indicates that the penetration rate of mobile Internet was 28% in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, compared to a penetration rate mobile by 46%. Telecommunications operators and governments are increasingly looking to space to bring communications services to populations, especially those living in rural areas with little or no coverage by terrestrial telecom services.
According to Aarti Holla-Maini (pictured), Secretary General of the GSOA, this cooperation should facilitate the development of satellite communication services in Rwanda and provide support to RSA to ensure that satellite spectrum is used for development sustainable. She also said that the two sides will take advantage of this cooperation to share knowledge and best practices and explore satellite communications for the benefit of mankind.