Ethiopia says it will launch a civilian satellite into orbit in three to five years to better predict weather conditions and for remote sensing activities inside the country.

The announcement comes after a severe drought left more than 10 million people hungry and killed several thousands of animals in the past two years.

Ethiopia is among a number of African countries with growing space ambitions.

The spokesman for the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology, Wondwossen Andualem, says the country likely will launch the satellite from a facility in China.

It is not clear how much the project will cost and whether it will have military uses.

The spokesman says Ethiopia aims to be a space science hub and has a Space Science Council chaired by the prime minister.

ELIAS MESERET

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