More Africa NewsEthiopia signs a memorandum of understanding with the American Orion AST to develop its space industry

June 21, 2022by myles0

Ethiopia wants to make the space industry a key element of its economic development. Already supported by China, the country also wants to offer the support of the United States for the realization of this ambition. 

The Ethiopian government, through the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MINT), has signed a memorandum of understanding with the American satellite company Orion Applied Science and Technology (Orion AST). The agreement focuses on the development of Ethiopia’s capabilities in the space industry.

Under this agreement, Orion AST will bring unparalleled capabilities to the country in the space sector. Alexander Alvin, President and CEO of Orion AST, said the company will also offer basic civil services for the benefit of farmers, water management, disaster and emergency relief operations. He added that the company will start implementing the MoU shortly.

For the Ethiopian government, this project is part of the Ethiopian National Space Strategic Policy of 2018. This strategic plan aims to put space at the service of digital transformation, sustainable development, capacity building and job creation. This ambition of the government is reflected in the growing investment in the sector. 

In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, Ethiopia’s space budget was USD 3.7 million and USD 5.69 million, respectively. However, in 2020, Ethiopia more than doubled the cumulative budget of the previous two years to USD 22.2 million. The same year, the East African country launched its second satellite in partnership with China. There are also plans to build a communication and broadcasting satellite called Ethiopian ComSat. In 2021, the space budget allocation was approximately USD 10.4 million.

“  MINT is responsible for supporting economic development through innovation, technology, research and digitization. The MoU we signed here today is among our priorities for Ethiopia to become more capable and ready to achieve its growth and development ambitions  ,” said Belete Molla, Minister of Innovation and of Technology. 

Source: Agence Ecofin

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