Djibouti inks $1bn deal with Hong Kong company to build rocket launch site
Djibouti has inked a preliminary technological cooperation agreement with Chinese multinational Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build a $1bn satellite and rocket launch site which could see the launch of the first Africa-made satellite from the African continent.
The deal with the Hong Kong-based company, which was signed by Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, includes the construction of port infrastructure and highways in the northern Obock region to ensure the reliable routing of aerospace materials coming from China. The 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, the president said. “I am delighted to see our country involved in this promising technological and energy development project,” said Guelleh.
The Chinese multinational firm says it is Hong Kong’s first commercial aerospace enterprise focusing on satellite network engineering and precise satellite manufacturing. Hong Kong Aero Tech owns five technical centers and manufacturing bases, including a satellite manufacturing centre and a centre for satellite data. Located relatively close to the equator, Djibouti is 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. In 2022, African nations allocated a total of $534.9m for the operation of their respective space programs, and 13 African nations have manufactured a total of 48 satellites.