The purpose of this chapter is to explore how European Satellite Communications (SatCom) policy can accelerate African development. One of the current European policy priorities is the Digital Agenda, with the ambition to bring broadband to every European citizen by 2013. This policy initiative promotes European growth as smart, sustainable and inclusive. The targets of the Digital Agenda can be pursued by different technologies, including SatCom, the advantage of which is to assure a uniform quality of service over a huge area of coverage. Due to their geographical proximity, an appropriate SatCom solution that assures broadband for Europe can also serve a large part of Africa.
The last European Space Council in 2010 mentions the partnership on space with Africa as a way to support sustainable development of African continent and also in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The expansion of broadband is a critical factor in development, and in meeting the MDGs. Broadband can deliver health services and education, as well as supporting cultural diversity and the generation of economic activity and management of climate change, natural disasters and other global crises. Highlighting the need for governments to raise broadband to the top of the development agenda and speed up its rollout, the importance of providing affordable broadband in the least developed countries is recommended.
It should be stressed that SatCom is often the best tool in the provision of broadband services in rural and remote areas, and in the case of natural disasters when land-based infrastructure is not available. In addition, this policy approach is consistent with the international space law principle that the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit of all people.
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This paper was first published as part of International Cooperation for the Development of Space, published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG) and included on this site through the courtesy of ATWG, ISU and the individual authors.
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