South Africa May Launch Internet Satellite for SADC

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

The South African Presidency has published a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) diagnostic report detailing novel technologies that the country is planning to invest on.


The 4IR diagnostics report was prepared by a 4IR commission constituted by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, towards enhancing development in the country. The commission consisted of 33 experts and 60 groups, including listed companies and government departments in the country. Part of the recommendation of the commission was that South Africa should develop its own Internet Satellite.

While advocating for stronger connectivity in the country, the commission recommended that South Africa should own its own geostationary telecommunications satellite, which would offer its services to the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

In the commission’s report, it noted that the satellite “would create an enabling environment that opens opportunities for [a] shared economy that would empower all Africans to change their material social conditions and alleviate poverty, inequality and youth unemployment. We would create much-needed redundancy by large global enterprises”.

The commission added that the satellite would provide quality connectivity of marginalised communities in the SADC region, at no cost to them, so that they may access 4IR applications, especially for smart health, smart learning, smart ammunition, smart minerals, smart agriculture, smart contracts and smart financial services.

The commission said that the geostationary satellite would also add value in setting up an African central exchange for voice, data and other communication media – and enable smart contracts for the African Continental Free Trade Agreements (AfCFTA).

Earlier in the year, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande, said that the department is considering the use of ‘Space Science and Earth Observation technologies and platforms’ in support of its plans to reach to vulnerable students. He further noted that “The Department of Science and Innovation, in conjunction with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Sentech and South African National Space Agency, is currently looking at a long-term solution to supporting the digital transmission needs for the national education system through the launch of a locally-produced communications satellite”.

“The CSIR is also completing the task of establishing a Geospatial planning map identifying the location and distribution of learning and co-learning sites in all the districts of South Africa to enable us to support students in the period before full return to campuses.”


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