Leading global satellite providers AMOS-Spacecom of Israel and Yahsat of the United Arab Emirates are working with Geeks Without Frontiers to identify areas of cooperation emerging from the historic Abraham Accords to deliver needed Humanitarian Satellite Connectivity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for African countries.
At a historic panel during the “9th Annual Space & Satellite Law Colloquium” entitled, “Africa – Humanitarian Satellite Connectivity During Crisis,” Hamed Munter Odeh, VP of Strategic Global Business Development for Yahsat said he “greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss areas of collaboration to solve these grand challenges.”
Ofer Asif, Senior V.P. BizDev, Marketing and Strategy for Spacecom added “We strongly believe that a major part of our essence as a company is in bridging the digital divide and bringing basic connectivity to all because this is not just a necessity, it’s a human right. During these challenging COVID-19 times in the world, it is truly inspiring to take part in this panel with Yahsat and Geeks Without Frontiers, enabled after the historical ‘Abraham Accord Agreement’, and for this, we are truly thankful and very excited”.
Signed during the summer, the Abraham Accords, which include the UAE, Israel, Bahrain, and Sudan, aim to establish peace and full normalization between these countries with the goal of transforming the Middle East by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.
Both of these satellite providers are fully prepared to provide immediate satellite bandwidth to support basic internet, distance learning and telehealth to reach vulnerable populations. These companies have agreed to explore an initiative that would provide a blend of humanitarian donated capacity with augmented commercial capacity. Africa currently has 2.3 million confirmed cases of COVID, while at the same time 300 million Africans do not have access to broadband communications.
Michael Potter, co-Founder of Geeks Without Frontiers started the panel by observing that: “We should never squander a perfectly good crisis. We stand at a momentous crossroads in history. This pandemic has exposed how important connectivity is to education, health, small enterprises, and to the essential needs of the people of Africa. History calls on all of us to figure out how to provide sustainable connectivity to all parts of the world, and particularly to those areas that have been hit hard by the comorbidity of COVID and lack of connectivity. This is a once in a generation opportunity.”
John Morris, the co-Founder of Geeks Without Frontiers, stated that “the Abraham Accords represents a firm intention, as well as a heartfelt interest from these countries, to work together to have a lasting and sustained positive impact on this region. Together, YahSat and SpaceCom operate over a billion dollars of connectivity assets over Africa today and have the capacity to make a material contribution to the future development of Africa.”
In 2017 Geeks Without Frontiers released its “Community Connect” initiative which provides a playbook of best practices and legal principles for accelerating the broadband deployment of satellite connectivity around the world.
During the forum, panellists discussed issues, challenges, opportunities, and possible areas of cooperation to solve connectivity issues in Africa.
Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) is a leading fixed and mobile satellite services operator offering integrated satellite communications solutions to over 150 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia and Australasia. Yahsat’s fleet of five satellites reaches more than 80% of the world’s population. Yahsat is based in Abu Dhabi, UAE and is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company.
Spacecom (Space-Communication Ltd.) is a leading global fixed-satellite operator and satellite service provider, offering tailored end-to-end communication solutions to the Media and Broadband industries. Operating the advanced AMOS satellite fleet, Spacecom provides innovative broadcast and broadband satellite services with European, Pan-African, Middle Eastern and Asian coverage and cross-region connectivity. Spacecom is based in Israel.
About The Space & Satellite Law Colloquium
The Space & Satellite Law Colloquium was founded by Dr Delbert Smith and Christopher Stott to be a unique forum for the open discussion of space and satellite legal and regulatory issues held under Chatham House Rules by invitation only for those professionals leading the field. The 9th Annual Space & Satellite Regulatory Colloquium is sponsored by the global law practice, K&L Gates LLP (“KLG”). KLG has a well-diversified Space Business Practice Group dealing with policy issues and legal work for the commercial space industry that is led by Elizabeth Evans (NY) and R. Paul Stimers (DC).
About Geeks Without Frontiers
Geeks Without Frontiers is a technology-neutral platform for global impact. An award-winning non-profit, Geeks’ mission is to promote technology for a resilient world including bringing the benefits of broadband connectivity – disaster preparedness, health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) – to the estimated 3.5 billion people who remain unconnected.