With help from Japan, Rwanda is on track to launch its first telecoms satellite by 2020 according to Robert Ford, the Executive Vice President of the ICT Chamber of Rwanda. By Paul Adepoju



"Rwanda intends to launch the first Rwandan satellite in 2020. That is our goal. We have already launched the first actions in this direction, with the sending of the first four students for training in Japan. Others will leave as part of the African Business Education Initiative for Youth," Ford said.
Rwanda's government aims to achieve total telecoms autonomy with the launch of the satellite.
"Among other things, it will enable it to connect rural and remote areas of the country, to improve observation of the national territory, weather control and military communications," Ford added.
To achieve this, the government is putting together the Rwanda Space Project in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Rwanda Regulatory Agency Utilities (RURA) and the Japan Space Agency (JAXA).
Interest in telecoms satellite technology is growing throughout Africa and the continent has emerged as a target market for global vendors.
In December, Angola worked with Russia to launch its own telecoms satellite. Initial reports claimed that connection had been lost following the satellite's launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome, but this was later restored.
"Telemetry information received from the satellite shows that all the parameters of onboard systems are working normally," read a statement from Russia's space corporation Energiya.