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Ethiopia ponders PPP scheme to build First communications satellite

The government of Ethiopia is considering a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to build its first communications satellite that is expected to cost over USD 350 million.

Speaking to The Reporter on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, Director of the Ethiopian Space Science Technology Institute, Abdissa Yilma reiterated the government's urgent demand to build and launch a communications satellite within the coming three to four years.

The director noted that the initial works and due diligence activities are in the finalization process.

The director, however, highlighted that budget constraints have pushed the government to look into alternative sources of financing, including PPP and concessional loans.

"Developing communication satellites is a very crucial and important milestone to fill gaps," said the director.

Sources indicated that ethio-telecom spends at least 12 million dollars a year, leasing commercial satellite communications, and this sum does not include money spent by Ethiopian media, military, businesses, and other governmental departments.

In the meantime, the Ethiopian government has planned to launch its second satellite on the final days of December 2020. This remote sensing satellite provides data about changes in climate and weather-related phenomena that would be utilized for the country's key targets in agriculture, forestry as well as natural resources protection initiatives.

Abdissa mentioned that the second satellite weighs 12 kilos and has 5.4 meter resolution, making it better compared to the first satellite.

The Nation has launched its first-ever remote sensing satellite (ETRSS1) into space in Dec 2019.