Kenyan government clears Italy’s rocket-launching facility in Malindi

San Marco Space Centre. [Photo: Space In Africa]

Kenya will earn Ksh25 million annually from the Italian government for allowing it to use its land on Malindi to host Broglio Space Centre, a multi-billion dollar rocket launching facility.

Parliament approved a report on this as presented by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee.

The committee agreed with Cabinet’s decision to enter into a five-year deal where Kenya will host Broglio Space Centre previously known as San Marco Space Centre.

Kenya had a previous pact with Italy on the rocket launching centre which came to an end in 2012 and has since been negotiating for this new deal for the last eight years.

Kenya has hosted the Italian-run San Marco Space Centre since 1962 without benefiting from it due to a pre-Independence agreement.

In the new agreement, the contract will be renewed after every five years with an increment of Ksh5 million.

Besides the Ksh25 million paid for the five years, Kenya will have a 50% stake on cotracts with third parties for all commercial services rendered by Broglio Space Centre.

Italy is also required to remit to Kenya an annual authorisation fee of Ksh5 million from each third party for the use of the facility.

The Kenyan law prescribes that such an agreement be ratified with Parliament’s approval.

In the new law as ratified by Parliament, a Kenyan will now take up a senior position as opposed to the past where no Kenyan was allowed to take up a senior position in the rocket launching, satellite-tracking and control of orbiting facility governed under rules of engagement signed between Rome and London.

With the new agreement, the community in Malindi will benefit, Majority Chief Whip Emmanuel Wangwe said.

“There is a shift in that there will be 15 scholarships for Kenyans each at a cost of Sh2.6 million compared to the 1995 agreement,” Emanuel Wangwe, the Majority Chief Whip, said during debate on the report.