Djibouti reaches $1bn rocket deal

Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh has signed a technological cooperation agreement with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build a $1bn satellite and rocket launch site.

The project will include the construction of port infrastructure and highways in the northern Obock region to ensure the reliable routing of aerospace materials coming from China. The President of Djibouti said that construction works could be completed as early as 2027 and infrastructure will be handed over to Djibouti upon the completion of a 30-year co-management contract with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology.

Hong Kong Aerospace Technology is Hong Kong’s first commercial aerospace enterprise that focuses on satellite network engineering and precise satellite manufacturing. The firm owns five technical centers and manufacturing bases, including a satellite manufacturing center and a center for satellite data.

Djibouti’s location close to the equator makes it an attractive destination for the launch of satellites, which can take advantage of the Earth’s rotational speed, ensuring savings on the amount of fuel required to get rockets into space. Although African countries have previously shown an interest in the design and construction of satellites, none of the 54 satellites launched by African countries were launched from Africa.

The Djibouti project could help to spur demand for African-made components, as there is currently a limited amount of satellite component manufacturing on the continent.

The report projects the industry to grow by 16.16% to $22.64bn by 2026. The Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, Hu Bin, welcomed the delegation and said he encouraged the enterprise to strengthen feasible research, establish a firm awareness of compliance, balance corporate interests and social responsibilities, promote the diversified economic development of Djibouti, and contribute to Sino-Djibouti cooperation.

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