In 2013, during a visit by French president François Hollande to Morocco’s capital Rabat, a deal was made in secret for France to build a satellite for the Moroccan government. On November 7, 2017, four years after this deal was signed, Mohammed VI-A, Africa’s first high-resolution imaging satellite, was launched, giving Morocco a new kind of power in North Africa.
The launch of Mohammed VI-A reflects a new way nations in Africa are growing their economic, social and military capabilities. Instead of conforming to the status quo of the past or accepting one-sided trade and geopolitical agreements, they are turning to space. For Morocco, the satellite, which is nominally to be used for mapping, natural disaster management and more, raised eyebrows in Algeria and Spain over its potential for spying as well.
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