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As humanity explores new frontiers in space, the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon serves as a reflection of where we have come from, and where we are to go next. What does it mean for the estimated $7 billion space industry in Africa?


July 20, 1969, will always be remembered as the year man made earth-shaking history.

It was one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Apollo 11 became the first aircraft to land safely on the moon.

In Africa, just a year after this historic moment, Kenya launched its first satellite named Uhuru, meaning ‘freedom’ in Swahili.

It was Africa’s giant leap. It was sponsored by NASA and was the first earth-orbiting mission dedicated to celestial X-ray astronomy.

READ MORE | #30Under30: Technology Category 2019

It is speculated that in 1970 and 1973, Kenya was given two rocks collected from the Apollo 11 and 17 lunar missions. Since then, more African nations have joined the space race.

“The space industry is worth $400 billion and in Africa, the space industry is worth up to $7 billion,” Nigerian space enthusiast and entrepreneur, Oniosun Temidayo, says.

He grew up in Oyo State in the southwest of Nigeria, thousands of kilometers away from where the Apollo mission took place, yet he is fueled with passion for the space industry.

Temidayo is the founder of Space in Africa, a platform that covers business, technology, discoveries, events and political news on the African space and satellite industry.

As per his research with Space in Africa, it is expected that by 2024, at least 15 African countries would have launched at least one satellite into space.

These include Algeria, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia. Senegal has set a two-year target to launch its first nanosatellite.

“The total projected number of satellites by African countries is rising from 35 to 64 within the same period; a 83 percent increase in the number of satellites in the region,” Temidayo says.

According to the African Space Industry Annual Report 2019: “The aggregate GDP of the continent has doubled in the last 10 years, to over $2.2 trillion. The African space market is now worth over $7 billion annually, and we project that is likely to grow over 40% in the next five years to exceed $10 billion by 2024.”

There are many commercial ventures aligned to investing in the space industry in Africa.

The report states that over 8,500 people are employed in the African space industry.

“African engineers built 14 of the 35 satellites, including those they built in Africa and others using facilities outside of Africa,” the report said, implementing the continental space policy under the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.

Egypt was approved as host country for the headquarters of the new African Space Agency passed by the AU.

One of the agency’s objectives is strengthening “space missions on the continent in order to ensure optimal access to space-derived data, information, services and products”.

Africa’s plans have surely sky-rocketed in this regard.

READ MORE | Africa Takes to the Stratosphere and Beyond

It has been 17 years since South African-born tech entrepreneur, Mark Shuttleworth, became the first African in space.

Called the ‘Afronaut’, at 28, he became the second-ever space tourist flying to the International Space Station as a member of the Soyuz TM-34.

He paid about $20 million to spend eight days there; a dream only a few could afford then – and even now.

Today, Temidayo aspires to reach for the stars like Shuttleworth did.

But until then, he continues to build a body of work on the African space economy.

50 years of the lunar landing

Last month, Temidayo and his team celebrated the 50th anniversary of Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the Moon.

To celebrate, his team featured 10 of the brightest young professionals under the age of 30 who are doing incredible work in the African space industry, calling them ‘The Future of the African Space Industry’.

“These are 10 young professionals below the age of 30. Their work cuts across space engineering, geospatial technologies, space law and business development. They are already influencing the growth of the industry,” he says.

“The exciting thing about this is that, they are mostly women,” Temidayo reveals.

READ MORE | 3D Printing: From Spaceship Engines To Personalized Orthotics

Thousands of kilometers away, another man was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission – Aldrin, the man who was on the moon with Armstrong, and who turned 89 this year.

“Ten, nine, ignition sequence start, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, all engines running. We have a lift off, lift off on Apollo 11,” were the immortal words on the space intercom during Apollo 11’s launch.

On the day, 530 million TV viewers watched the astronauts take their first steps on the moon.

“The moon landing was not just a US achievement. It was a global achievement,” Temidayo says.

Reflecting on the mission, Aldrin posted a tweet with an image of him and his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts, including mission commander Armstrong, examining a lunar sample brought back from the moon.

As part of the celebrations, Buzz Aldrin Ventures had a party planned; the Official Apollo XI 50th Anniversary Gala at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s Air Force One Pavilion in Simi Valley with himself to honor the mission, team and crew that made history in 1969.

For his journey to space, it is reported that Aldrin carried wine, bread, and a chalice for communion while Armstrong carried a piece of the wooden propeller of the Wright Flyer (the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft built by the Wright brothers).

“When we made it to the moon, it was uncharted territory – literally! Our 21-day quarantine was a necessary precaution at the time… we didn’t know if there were any microorganisms on the moon,” Aldrin said in a Twitter post.

Meanwhile, NASA rolled out numerous activities for anyone to get involved in the 50th anniversary celebrations.

NASA says it is working to establish a permanent human presence on the moon within the next decade to uncover new scientific discoveries and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.

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Where The Medium’s The Topic And The Topic is Topical

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UJ, 4IR, and the CloudebateTM concept

UJ is the University of Johannesburg. 4IR is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. CloudebateTM? Well – it’s a place where really interesting questions are asked, such as: is the academic thesis a thing of the past? Have books outlived their physical form? Are we witnessing the demise of childhood? Will eye-tracking, sip and puff, or exoskeletons lead to true equality of opportunity? Will society change Africa? Will Africa help change society? Will education teach our children what they really need to know? And if so, how?

As 4IR sweeps the world, sending many preconceptions, predilections, and presuppositions tumbling as it goes, UJ sees the asking of questions like these as a fundamental response. And it’s responding because, since 2013, when it first embarked on its strategy of global excellence and stature, the university saw a clear need to take the lead in exploring the applications, implications and potential of 4IR. What’s more, it saw a need to do this not just as part of its positioning as a thought-leader on the continent, but as part of making a proactive and positive contribution towards African society, education and enablement.

A vision of width, a platform of depth

It’s a significant vision, and as part realising it, UJ has been investigating new and challenging ways, not just of identifying the issues at stake, but of presenting them in depth. It sought a way that would bring medium and content, idea and action, debate and initiative, together on one unique platform.

And that unique platform, one that UJ has not only created, but given a unique name to as well, is the CloudebateTM

The CloudebateTM

The CloudebateTM has essentially taken the traditional debate/panel discussion and reimagined it, placing it firmly within the realm of its own 4IR scope, and using the latest live-streaming technology. It is the place where 4IR ideas that have been identified as relevant, meaningful, challenging and thought-provoking are placed before an expert panel as well as an online audience who are invited to participate in real time, online, in a very 4IR way, in the discussion, analysis and dissection.  

There have been seven Cloudebates held so far, and their names provide an insight into their capacity to provoke thought: The Way Tomorrow Works; Digitally Equal; Is 4IR the Demise of Childhood? Questioning the Answers; Obsolete or Absolute? Should Books be Shelved? Adding Muscle to Open Doors.

When thought is action

It’s all about the kind of world we are creating for our children to inhabit. What will the elimination of jobs do to society? Are children growing directly into the immediacy of adulthood? Are academic theses outdated? Are libraries passé? Can technology enable opportunity equally for all?

The digital reach has been immense, not just in South Africa but globally, where it has found a worldwide audience. Moreover, UJ’s CloudebateTM initiative is set to continue into 2020 with further challenges to our received wisdom, our perceived way of doing things. So, if you have any stimulating 4IR topics that you would like to see discussed, send them to [email protected] – UJ would love to hear from you. And if you’d like to see the discussions that have already taken place, then just go to uj.ac.za/4IR, where you can watch, and take a view of your own.

Creating tomorrow

With its innovative CloudebateTM concept, UJ’s pursuit of global excellence has been a most rewarding journey that will continue to develop and expand along with 4IR, and along with UJ’s ongoing commitment to creating tomorrow.

Content provided by the University of Johannesburg

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30 under 30

Applications Open for FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 class of 2020

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FORBES AFRICA is on the hunt for Africans under the age of 30, who are building brands, creating jobs and transforming the continent, to join our Under 30 community for 2020.


JOHANNESBURG, 07 January 2020: Attention entrepreneurs, creatives, sport stars and technology geeks — the 2020 FORBES AFRICA Under 30 nominations are now officially open.

The FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list is the most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we are on the hunt for 30 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 spanning these categories: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

Each year, FORBES AFRICA looks for resilient self-starters, innovators, entrepreneurs and disruptors who have the acumen to stay the course in their chosen field, come what may.

Past honorees include Sho Madjozi, Bruce Diale, Karabo Poppy, Kwesta, Nomzamo Mbatha, Burna Boy, Nthabiseng Mosia, Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, Henrich Akomolafe, Davido, Yemi Alade, Vere Shaba, Nasty C and WizKid.

What’s different this year is that we have whittled down the list to just 30 finalists, making the competition stiff and the vetting process even more rigorous. 

Says FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil: “The start of a new decade means the unraveling of fresh talent on the African continent. I can’t wait to see the potential billionaires who will land up on our desks. Our coveted sixth annual Under 30 list will herald some of the decade’s biggest names in business and life.”

If you think you have what it takes to be on this year’s list or know an entrepreneur, creative, technology entrepreneur or sports star under 30 with a proven track-record on the continent – introduce them to FORBES AFRICA by applying or submitting your nomination.

NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS CRITERIA:

Business and Technology categories

  1. Must be an entrepreneur/founder aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Should have a legitimate REGISTERED business on the continent
  3. Business/businesses should be two years or older
  4. Nominees must have risked own money and have a social impact
  5. Must be profit generating
  6. Must employ people in Africa
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Sports category

  1. Must be a sports person aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be representing an African team
  3. Should have a proven track record of no less than two years
  4. Should be making significant earnings
  5. Should have some endorsement deals
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Creatives category

  1. Must be a creative aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be from or based in Africa
  3. Should be making significant earnings
  4. Should have a proven creative record of no less than two years
  5. Must have social influence
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Your entry should include:

  • Country
  • Full Names
  • Company name/Team you are applying with
  • A short motivation on why you should be on the list
  • A short profile on self and company
  • Links to published material / news clippings about nominee
  • All social media handles
  • Contact information
  • High-res images of yourself

Applications and nominations must be sent via email to FORBES AFRICA journalist and curator of the list, Karen Mwendera, on [email protected]

Nominations close on 3 February 2020.

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Facebook Is Still Leaking Data More Than One Year After Cambridge Analytica

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Facebook said late Tuesday that roughly 100 developers may have improperly accessed user data, which includes the names and profile pictures of individuals in certain Facebook Groups.

The company explained in a blog post that developers primarily of social media management and video-streaming apps retained the ability to access Facebook Group member information longer than the company intended.

The company did not detail the type of data that was improperly accessed beyond names and photos, and it did not disclose the number of users affected by the leak.

Facebook restricted its developer APIs—which provide a way for apps to interface with Facebook data—in April 2018, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke the month before. The goal was to reduce the way in which developers could gather large swaths of data from Facebook users.

But the company’s sweeping changes have been relatively ineffective. More than a year after the company restricted API access, the company continues to announce newly discovered data leaks.

“Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted,” Facebook said in a statement.

The social media giant says in its announcement that it reached out to 100 developer partners who may have improperly accessed user data and says that at least 11 developer partners accessed the user data within the last 60 days.

Facebook has been reviewing the ways that companies are able to collect information and personal data about its users since the New York Times reported that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data of millions of users. Facebook later said the firm connected to the Trump campaign may have improperly accessed data on 87 million users.

The Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5 billion fine as a result of the breach. As part of the 20-year agreement both parties reached, Facebook now faces new guidelines for how it handles privacy leaks.

“The new framework under our agreement with the FTC means more accountability and transparency into how we build and maintain products,” Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, wrote in a Facebook post.

“As we work through this process we expect to find examples like the Groups API of where we can improve; rest assured we are committed to this work and supporting the people on our platform.”

Michael Nuñez

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