By Bester Kayaye
The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) says it intends to embark on the Malawi Space Program initiative that will see establishment of the country’s first ever Space Agency.
MACRA’s Director General Daud Suleman explains that the Malawi Space Agency will champion exploration of Malawi’s potential in utilizing space resources for scientific and technological advancements.
Suleman says the country is mandated to execute the program for being a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a body which recommends the need for countries to have space resources for various satellite projects.
He says: “The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recognized the need for all member states to have space resources to enable them to explore their satellite ambitions.”
“All ITU member states, that Malawi is one of, have a dedicated orbital slot for national space programs. Orbital slots like spectrum are limited natural resources that must be protected and used rationally.”
“Each country has two orbital slots in ITU planned space services database, one for Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS) and other one for Fixed Satellite Services (FSS).”
Suleman says through the program Malawi is to position itself to economically benefit from the industry’s global projected growth as statistics signals that the space industry will grow by 40% in terms worth from US$7 billion in 2019 to US$10 billion in 2024.
Communications satellites provide a range of benefits including long distance communication services to accommodate many devices and provide them with internet access. Satellite communication covers a wider geographical area, overcoming terrain and topology challenges.
Suleman says: “Malawi can position itself to tap from this growth through venturing into the space program thereby boosting the GDP.”
“The growth will also bring about socioeconomic growth by improving the domestic welfare and using space data and applications to enhance existing governance activities such as agriculture, mapping and climate science.”
Meanwhile, Malawi is set to hold its first ever space conference at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC) in Lilongwe from November 9 to 11, 2022.
Among others, the conference is set to discuss the protection and utilization of Malawi’s space resources to support the attainment of Malawi 2063 vision.
Africa as a collective has a total of 44 satellites orbiting 13 countries.
Malawi envisions that a vibrant digital environment including space exploration is an enabler for future development.