African markets

Elon Musk’s Starlink rollout poses a familiar paradox in African markets

If all goes as planned, the people of South Africa, Nigeria, and Mozambique, who probably made the $99.00 deposit with great gusto and excitement, would have the full Starlink gear in their possession before the end of the year.

Starlink is one of many lunar shots that Elon Musk, today’s richest man and admired serial visionary, has made of his life’s work.

While not the boldest of his endeavors (not when he’s also co-founder of Neuralink; a neurotech company that develops implantable brain-machine interfaces), Starlink is equally ambitious and could potentially be groundbreaking, promising Internet access for all.

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by another Musk moonshot, SpaceX, providing satellite internet access coverage to 32 countries. It aims for global coverage. SpaceX began launching Starlink satellites in 2019, and the service currently has more than 1,500 such satellites in near-Earth orbit, along with some 69,000 users in 12 countries (United States, Canada, Germany, Australia , etc.) one million pre-orders.

In Africa, Starlink appears to have obtained the necessary authorizations to operate in South Africa, as well as Nigeria and Mozambique more recently – as Musk himself announced in a tweet last week, although this probably raises more questions than answers.