Minoo Rathnasabapathy was quoted recently in an article by Stephanie Bailey via CNN Business on Africa's growing space industry. The article highlights the opportunities for many African nations as they develop space capabilities and optimize their uses of space-enabled applications, whilst also considering challenges faces by many nations.
The article reads, in part:
"Minoo Rathnasabapathy, a ... space research engineer at MIT, says the continent's space industry still has challenges to overcome, most notably a lack of resources.
When you consider the US or Europe, it's really apples and oranges.' she says. 'In the US we see a lot of private industry and a lot of private funding and we're seeing NASA and ESA [the European Space Agency] be able to tap into that funding. Whereas in Africa, we're just not there yet and that's completely understandable given other priorities of the countries."
How the article connects to Space Enabled Research:
On-going work at Space Enabled considers the evolution of Africa's satellite programs from their early beginnings to present, the identification of new stakeholders to the space industry, and the role of international collaboration and contributions from players in government, industry and academia. A key development in recent years has been the establishment of the African Space Agency and African Space Strategy, setting a framework of cooperation, coordination, and promotion of space activities among nations on the continent by leveraging national competencies and facilitating regional-level programmes.
In parallel to the development of Africa's national capabilities is a growing trend of entrepreneurs that are transforming Africa's economic prospects and space industry. Equipped with the expertise in local contextual factors and the understanding of end user needs, innovators across Africa who are harnessing satellite technology to drive a social-tech movement aimed at improving socio-economic, political and environmental challenges in their respective cities, countries and regions
Led by Dr Minoo Rathnasabapathy, work is currently being done on investigating emerging entrepreneurial trends driving space and innovation ecosystems in Africa. The research serves to identify key factors driving the emergence and success of space science, technology and innovation in Africa, and subsequent policy initiatives needed to stimulate entrepreneurship on the continent. The research aims to build upon a database of African start-ups that are utilizing space technologies in key vertical sectors including agriculture, healthcare, transportation, and financial technology (FinTech).