The Kenyan Parliament has finally approved a new deal on the use of a multi-billion dollar rocket launching facility in Malindi. This now gives Italy the way to conclude the pact with Kenya and hopefully conduct its rocket launching project in the coastal town.
The National Assembly approved the report by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee. This decision backs the Cabinet choice to sign a new five-year deal that will see Kenya garner KES 25 million annually from Italy. The European nation will then have all the rights to use the land hosting the San Marco Space Centre, now renamed Broglio Space Centre.
According to reports, negotiations for the new deal have not been as smooth since the new deal begun in 2012 when the previous pact ended.
The KES 25 million agreement will be reviewed every five years, with a KES 5 million guaranteed increment.
Kenya has hosted the Italian-run San Marco Space Centre since 1962 without benefiting from it due to a pre-Independence agreement.
Under this new deal, the space centre will also have to recruit a Kenyan as a deputy to the head of the space centre. However, the senior position is barred from being occupied by any Kenyan. This is because all operations like rocket-launching, satellite-tracking and control of orbiting facility are governed under rules signed between Italy and Britain.
Either way, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this agreement between Rome and Nairobi in space exploration.
“The committee recommends that the House approve ratification of the agreement between the government of the Republic of Kenya and the government of the Italian Republic on the Luigi Broglio-Malindi Space Centre,” said Kajiado MP Katoo Ole Metito who chaired the committee.