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Why Africans must
go to space

The continent’s first woman astronaut says satellite tech can speed up development of African countries.

Africa’s first woman in space has called for regional and global efforts to enable more Africans to participate in space exploration as part of efforts to advance the continent’s socioeconomic transformation.

Sara Sabry, a young Egyptian astronaut and founder of the Deep Space Initiative ( made the call last week during a panel discussion at the Africa50 Infra Forum meeting held in Togo’s capital Lomé. The topic of the panel was A Different View: Africa’s future reimagined.

“I don’t think space should be such an exclusive club,” said Sabry. “To be the first at something is to kick down the door for others to follow. It is important for Africa to have a seat at the table and be involved in space exploration. The demographic in space must reflect that of people on Earth.”

Sabry made history when she travelled to space on the New Shepard rocket developed by Blue Origin, an American aerospace company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. 

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina (2nd left) urges Africa’s first woman in space, Sara Sabry, to inspire young scientists

Speaking during the TED-style event, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, said Sabry was an inspiration.  

“As a young African scientist, you give hope that young people can be in space despite the odds,” he said. “It is often said that women can do what men can do, but I can say that women can do better than men.”

Sabry stressed that Africans should pursue space travel.

“It is important for Africa to build its capacity in space technology and gain its own control,” she said. Experts believe that satellite technology can have a significant impact on rapidly developing African countries by advancing weather forecasting, agriculture, navigation, and even banking and online education.”

Sabry also called for a review of laws that restrict people from participating in space exploration.

Sabry’s non-profit, the Deep Space Initiative, works to make space exploration more accessible to more people globally.
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