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Salon

NewSpace in Africa

Take-Off Flight to Innovation, Exploration, Transformation

NewSpace in Africa

October 18, 2023

Space Congress, Berlin

With a new space agency and an upcoming space port on the continent, the African space industry is capturing global attention. Its growth holds promise for international cooperation, making Africa an indispensable partner in the global space race. As part of the Space Congress, we discuss the motivation behind the increasing commitment in the African space industry and explore how a joint effort between Europe and Africa can mutually benefit the neighboring continents.

Discussion Points

  • Strong Momentum

    Being the continent of innovation and leapfrogging, Africa has a choice in whom to partner with. The continent is already deeply engaged in space activities, though not in a classical sense, through launch sites and rockets. Rather, “NewSpace in Africa is about data and AI”, says Martin Polak.

  • Human Capital

    The abundant resources of the African continent are still underutilized. One of which is human capital. By 2030, 42 percent of global youth will be African. Accordingly, NewSpace should be leveraged with this growing, digital affine population on the continent.

  • Co-Development

    NewSpace is a corner stone for socio-economic development. It can function as an equalizer as it offers opportunity for both, emerging market economies as well as advanced economies. Therefore, collaboration and moving together in co-development are key. Aaron Nzau says: „We don’t want a donor-recipient relationship of the past. We want to be part of the puzzle.”

  • OldSpace vs. NewSpace

    NewSpace is a reflection of ‘Old Space’, meaning there is risk of already established countries “becoming monopolists in space technology and innovation”, warns Kwaku Sumah. Thus, innovation should be responsible. Economic benefit, social value and prestige as well as the capability and the ease with which benefit is expressed need to be considered.

NewSpace in Africa - Take-Off Flight to Innovation, Exploration, Transformation

Dialogue on European-African cooperation at BDI Space Congress

"At events like this, you can feel the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. There is a huge opportunity for us here.“
Wolfgang Niedermark
Member of the Executive Board of BDI, at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"
"We explore the universe not just because we are curious, but because it is a mirror of who we are.“
Dr. Timiebi Aganaba
Senior Global Futures Scientist, Arizona State University, at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"
"New Space is a huge opportunity for cooperation with Europe. We view it as a corner stone for our socioeconomic development.“
H.E. Igor César
Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda , at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"
„We have to see what human capital there is in order to be able to scale it for the global perspective.“
Aaron Nzau 
Founder & CEO, SayariLabs, at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"
„NewSpace in Africa is not only about rockets and launch sites, it is about data and AI.“
Martin Polak
Senior Director, Planet Labs Germany GmbH, at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"
„Launching your own satellites communicates that this is something that can have an outside impact.“
Kwaku Sumah
Founder & Managing Partner, Spacehubs Africa, at our Salon "NewSpace in Africa"

Contact Persons

Rhoda Berger, r.berger@globalperspectives.org

Sabrina Rupprecht, s.rupprecht@globalperspectives.org

Supported by

Planet Labs

BDI Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie

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The Global Perspectives Initiative (GPI) is a non-profit and independent platform based in Berlin, Germany. GPI works towards enhanced engagement and responsibility for sustainable development by German and European decision-makers and aims to strengthen African perspectives in policymaking.

To this end, GPI regularly brings together decision- makers from politics, business, civil society, academia and media to discuss new approaches, provide new impulses and raise awareness on the common opportunities and challenges the two neighboring continents are facing.

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