- The African space economy is projected to grow by 16.16% to USD 22.64 billion by 2026. With the remarkable spurt in the African space economy in 2022, the industry is on track to reach this target.
- In 2023, African countries allocated USD 425.01 million to fund space activities, representing a 14.96% and 18.77% decrease compared to the revised budgets of 2022 and 2021, respectively.
- Stiff competition in the broadcast service market has Satellite TV providers losing market share to Pay TV providers due to convenience, affordability, and a more comprehensive content range.
- As of June 2023, 15 African nations (including three multilateral satellites) have invested over USD 4.71 billion in 58 satellite projects. The launch of an additional 105 satellites by 2026 is anticipated.
- 318 NewSpace companies are charting the course of space democratisation on the continent. These companies are involved in emerging technologies such as AI/ML, robotics, big data analytics, small satellite constellations, and spacecraft propulsion.
- Africa’s space assets and infrastructure are expanding significantly, including launch facilities, ground stations, teleports, and astronomy infrastructure. Presently, the continent hosts 355 ground stations, 60 telescopes, 22 planetariums and over 11 renowned observatories.
- Of the 11 African launch facilities, which include previously used rocket launch sites, only three are currently operational, three are proposed, and five are inactive.
- Between 2000 and 2023, African nations have engaged in over 166 bilateral space agreements involving more than 100 institutions from 32 countries worldwide, 90% of which are international agreements with non-African stakeholders. 89 of these agreements were signed over the last three years.
- Africa offers a promising investment landscape, with more than 45 ongoing research and development projects across 10 African countries, focusing on various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The bilateral agreements between African countries, foreign nations, and organisations have proven mutually beneficial. Some countries have secured contracts that exceed their investment in the continent, while others invested more than they have received.
Is Africa on Track to Meet the 2026 Valuation?
The African space economy showed remarkable growth in 2022, reinforcing the possibility of achieving the projected valuation of USD 22.6 billion by 2026. The industry is firmly on track to reach this target and is supported by the substantial progress witnessed across various segments. These individual segments have contributed to the overall growth of the space economy, showcasing promising advancements and opportunities.
The 2023 National Budget Sees a Significant Reduction
Many African nations actively invest in their space programmes to support their growing space aspirations. In 2023, African countries allocated USD 425.01 million to fund space activities, representing a 14.96% and 18.77% decrease compared to the revised budgets of USD 499.76 million in 2022 and USD 523.3 million in 2021, respectively. Africa’s space budget witnessed a notable decline in 2023, which can be attributed to various factors, including fluctuation in foreign exchange rates and the completion of national space projects. This decline reflects a shift in government priorities, economic constraints, reallocation of funds to address pressing national issues and the evolving nature of space programmes as they move into different stages of development.
What are the Space Priorities of African Countries in the Next Five Years?
As space technologies become more crucial for achieving sustainable development in Africa, more countries are establishing or strengthening their space programmes to realise the benefits of space technologies in their national goals. Moreover, space is directly linked to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 20 goals of AU’s Agenda 2063 (Africa We Want), a strategic framework for the continent’s socio-economic transformation over the next 50 years. Since African participation in space is geared towards sustainable development, it is natural that each country’s priorities are in tandem with its current and future needs, some of which include Earth observation applications and digital inclusion.
318 NewSpace Companies are Charting the Course of Space Democratisation on the Continent
Since 2022, at least two NewSpace start-ups have secured pre-seed funding to support their research and development efforts and initial entry into the market. Furthermore, an increasing number of companies are well-positioned to take advantage of monetary and non-monetary resources from foreign sources, enabling them to scale up their businesses and gain greater visibility. This progress has allowed many African NewSpace companies to transform their business models significantly, expand their market reach and capitalise on emerging opportunities. This has also influenced the creation of an inclusive and supportive environment for African NewSpace founders.
These companies are involved in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, robotics, big data analytics, small satellite constellations, and spacecraft propulsion. As the continent embraces space technologies and harnesses their potential across various sectors, it also opens numerous avenues for investors to explore and consider.
The Emergence of the As-a-Service Model in the African Space Industry
Over the past few years, several new as-a-service providers in different industry segments have emerged. Most of these service providers operate proprietary ground stations and satellite constellations, enabling them to cover various infrastructure services using the same model. Although some of these companies have partners in Africa, they are all non-African organisations serving the global market. The as-a-service business model has emerged as a transformative approach in the African space industry, offering flexible and cost-effective access to space-related services, resources, and technologies. With its numerous advantages and the involvement of diverse stakeholders, this model is revolutionising how organisations engage with space capabilities.
The Africa Space Industry Annual Report, 2023 Edition is authored and published by Space in Africa, the authority on news, data and market analysis for the African space and satellite industry. It presents data and analyses on trends, projects, deals, partnerships, and investments across the continent. It also expands on the demand for space technologies, innovations in space applications, available business development opportunities, and the regulatory landscape in the African space ecosystem.
The report comes with annual access to real-time data on every industry segment (for Global License) and players via the new Space in Africa Data Portal and yearly access to premium content published on the Space in Africa News Website.
Ayooluwa Adetola is a writer and editor at Space in Africa. She loves to share scientific information using the simplest words possible. When she’s not in front of a screen, she can be found with her nose buried in a book.