President Obama’s recent historic visit to Africa to pay tribute to his father’s land included a pledge of support and a commitment to future investment from the United States government. The issues of security and protection were common themes in his speeches, along with the need for increased development and forward progress. Obama highlighted the tremendous promise of countries like Kenya and Ethiopia if they receive the support of the international community as well as intra-continental investments by African governments and businesses. Long-term sustainability is key to the establishing cooperative measures between the United States and Africa. Forward engagement can be achieved successfully by addressing the issues that have restricted African nations’ basic freedoms and limited trade and investment in this part of the world. Who else can support Africa in its development?

U.S. companies have a role to play here. Entrepreneurial initiatives can address some of Africa’s complex challenges, creating opportunity for investment. Communications is one of the areas where U.S.-Africa partnerships make sense, a key point in Obama’s pledge to support economic growth. With the rapid rise in communications in all aspects of human life and Africa’s lagging infrastructure, the continent is primed to take advantage of newly available services. The applications for communications are obvious, running the gamut from consumer activities to national security. Satellites often provide the necessary connections for communications in underdeveloped areas, meaning the opportunity for investments in space assets in Africa is huge.

Long-term sustainability is key to the cooperation measures of a United States Africa partnership. Everyday, space assets–including satellites–provide communication capabilities to people worldwide, allowing for mobile communications, GPS, and satellite TV. President Obama’s pledge for supporting economic growth to these African nations is underscored by the need to facilitate communication connections.

There is absolutely a correlation between economic growth and sophisticated communications, and with as much promise as Africa exhibits, incorporating a telecommunications strategy will help to facilitate this growth. Leaders and industry are positioned to help cultivate a business, social, and technological climate where African nations can fully utilize space assets to encourage economic development and supplement national security.