Governments of African countries are increasingly interested in space technology as the sector is growing globally. According to the journal "Science", 13 African countries have launched 44 satellites at a cost of $4.5 billion over the past ten years.
Tunisia aims to create its own space agency. So said Moncef Boukthir, Tunisian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, on August 25. It was on the occasion of a workshop on the theme “ Space Activities in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities ”, which was held on the sidelines of the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8).
According to Moncef Boukthir, Tunisia has the technical and scientific assets necessary to achieve this ambition. Moreover, a Tunisian space agency project is already being studied by engineers specialized in this field, we learn. This continental event is therefore an opportunity for Tunisia which will be able to strengthen its partnerships with African countries which already have a space agency or which have such projects in progress.
This Tunisian initiative comes in a context marked by the rapid growth of the African space industry. According to the 2022 edition of the annual report of the African space industry carried out by Space In Africa, the value of the African space industry is expected to reach 22.64 billion USD in 2026 while it was valued at 19.49 billion USD in 2021. The same report indicates that African nations allocated a total of $534.9 million to space programs in 2022 compared to $523.2 million in 2021.
In addition to communication, space technology should enable the development of accurate and up-to-date databases in several key areas. These include natural resources, environmental protection and management, and food security monitoring. However, it is essential to put in place an appropriate legal and institutional framework to effectively manage and regulate the national space space in order to attract investment, as pointed out by Nizar Ben Néji, Minister of Communication Technologies.
If this project is carried out, Tunisia will enter the very closed circle of African countries with a space agency. It includes Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Rwanda, among others.