• The money is for the use by Italy of a piece of land in Malindi that hosts the San Marco Space Centre, now renamed Broglio Space Centre that hosts a rocket launching facility.
  • Despite Kenya hosting the Italian-run San Marco Space Centre since 1962, the country has not earned a shilling from it due to a pre-Independence agreement signed with Rome.
  • The Malindi-based San Marco Space Centre was set up in 1962 and has been used for the launching of sounding rockets, study the propagation of radio waves and archiving of satellite data.

After years of earning zilch Italy will soon start paying Kenya Sh25 million ($250,000) annually and an increment of Sh5 million $50,000 after every five years. 

The money is for the use by Italy of a piece of land in Malindi that hosts the San Marco Space Centre, now renamed Broglio Space Centre that hosts a rocket launching facility.

Broglio Space Centre in Malindi Broglio Space Centre in Malindi

This follows a parliamentary committee recommending the signing of a new deal between the two countries on the use of multi-billion dollar rocket launching facility. The Defence and Foreign Relations committee has also backed the Cabinet decision on the signing of a new agreement.

“The committee recommends that pursuant to section 8 of the Treaty-Making and Ratification Act, the House approves 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,” Katoo ole Metito who chairs the team said in the report to the House.

Katoo ole Metito. Katoo ole Metito.

Despite Kenya hosting the Italian-run San Marco Space Centre since 1962, the country has not earned a shilling from it due to a pre-Independence agreement signed with Rome.

Only tokens have been channelled to the Ngomeni community through the Coast Development Authority from the government of Italy.

The Malindi-based San Marco Space Centre was set up in 1962 and has been used for the launching of sounding rockets, study the propagation of radio waves and archiving of satellite data. The rocket launching, satellite-tracking and control of orbiting facility is governed under rules of engagement signed between Rome and London and bars any Kenyan from occupying a senior position there.

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Broglio Space Centre in Malindi. Broglio Space Centre in Malindi.

The space centre was not meant to be an income-generating programme base on the agreements that were renewed in 1975, 1995 and the ongoing negotiations. The agreement between the University of Rome and the Royal Technical College — now the University of Nairobi — for space science has been renewed four times and expired in December 2012.

Kenya and Italy have been renegotiating for a new agreement and only reached a deal in 2016. The agreement, however, can only be effected after Parliament approval in line with the law.

Broglio Space Centre. Broglio Space Centre.

Going forward once the deal has been approved by parliament. The Italian government will further remit to Kenya an annual authorisation fee of Sh5 million ($50,000) from each third party for the use of the facility.

Kenya will also pocket 50% of profits of contracts with third parties for commercial services provided by the facility, including but not limited to launching services, satellite tracking and telemetry services, communication services, data acquisition, surveillance and navigation.

The authorisation fee will be reviewed every five years during the period of the agreement.