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Data Collected from Space could Unlock $2 billion a Year in Benefits for Africa

Since the continent’s first satellite launched more than 20 years ago, 44 have been sent into orbit by 13 African countries, according to consultancy Space in Africa. It says a further 125 are being developed by 23 countries, all expected to launch before 2025. The payoff could be substantial. A 2021 report by the World Economic Forum estimates that data collected from space could unlock $2 billion a year in benefits for Africa. The report says satellites could address agricultural challenges by measuring crop health, improve water management by monitoring drought, and track tree cover for more sustainable forest management. In a continent where less than a third of the population has access to broadband, more communication satellites could help people connect to the internet. South African startup Astrofica was founded four years ago, providing space consultancy services. It supported the CubeSat program at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, which launched a constellation of maritime satellites for tracking ships along the southern African coast.