Tanzania ready for Elon Musk's Starlink, says Nape

What you need to know:

  • President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s priority is to invite local and foreign investments in the country,

Dar es Salaam. The government has distanced itself from allegations that its bureaucracy may further deny Mr Elon Musk’s Starlink application to operate in the country, saying it's ready to allow the company’s operations just within a day.

Mr Nape Nnauye, minister for information, communication, and information technology said this on Wednesday February 15, after he had launched a new look for The Citizen, Mwananchi, and Mwanaspoti websites at the Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) headquarters.

“There is no reason whatsoever to deny his application, I have personally reached out to him…I reminded him that we are still waiting for his company to finalise the remaining legal requirements before Starlink is allowed to operate,” he explained.

Mr Nape was of the view that one of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s priority is to invite local and foreign investments in the country, and that no one is allowed to serve as a bottleneck by blocking prospective investors and investments.

“But even then all investments  should be in line with our laws and regulations and when the company finalises legal requirements as stipulated by the laws, the ministry will permit them to operate, even by tomorrow,” the minister reassured.

Operated by SpaceX the satellite internet constellation has been providing internet connectivity using thousands of satellites in space that communicate with designated ground transceivers.

The development comes at a time when a cross section of the public think Mr Musk’s application to provide internet connectivity using satellites, would be denied due to government bureaucracy.

In his tweet, Mr Musk said: “We would love to (operate in Tanzania). We are just waiting for the government’s approval.”

The tycoon was responding to Mr Mike Coudrey, big entrepreneur and investor in the US, who is among those who are pushing for Starlink.

Mr Coudrey, who has a particular interest in Africa, especially Tanzania, tweeted: “Make Starlink available in Eastern Africa, specifically Tanzania so people can have a higher access to information and build a better future.”

However, he said the lobbyists and major internet and phone providers are doing all they can to hinder Starlink’s approval because that would mean consumers would switch to the better service.

“Rather than improving their own services, they will try to inhibit new availability in the market,” he expressed his worries.

Another Twitter user, Mr Curtis Martin, called on Mr Nnauye and his team to do a cost-benefit analysis to understand how they could accommodate this opportunity.

 “You look at it, this impacts the tax that these companies are paying with solutions in place. The tax that services people every day,” Mr Martin responded to Mr Coudrey.

Mr Given Edward was also quick to tweet: “The government is very keen on pushing for technology growth. I am sure they are on top of it, working to bring this to the market.”