According to the Associated Press, a satellite from Ethiopia may circle the globe in three to five years.
The civilian satellite will probably be launched from China, said spokesman Wondwossen Andualem of the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology. It is intended to monitor and predict weather conditions, which is especially relevant because Ethiopia is in the midst of a lengthy drought responsible for putting more than 10 million people in a hunger crisis and killing thousands of animals over two years.
The ministry says that the satellite will be able to perform remote sensing activities within the country but will not have a military mission.
Ethiopia’s prime minister currently also serves as the chair of a Space Science Council. The astronomical observatory founded in Ethiopia by a private company in August of 2015 was the first step toward a space program in East Africa, and other countries like Nigeria and South Africa have launched satellites within the last two decades.