Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The potential of astronomy for socioeconomic development in Africa

Since 2013, the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development has been funding and nurturing astronomy-for-development projects across the globe. In Africa, these projects aim to use astronomy to stimulate educational, technological and socioeconomic development.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The reach of the IAU’s astronomy-for-development initiative.
Fig. 2: An illustration of science for development, where astronomy is only a part of the broader contribution of science towards the SDGs.

SDG icons courtesy of UN/SDG


  1. 1.

    World Inequality Report 2018 (World Inequality Lab, 2017);

  2. 2.

    Higher Education (World Bank, 2017);

  3. 3.

    Jobs for Youth in Africa: Catalyzing Youth Opportunity Across Africa (African Development Bank, 2016);

  4. 4.

    World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision (United Nations, 2017);

  5. 5.

    Empowering African Women: An Agenda for Action (African Development Bank, 2015);

Download references


The Office of Astronomy for Development is a joint partnership between the International Astronomical Union and the South African National Research Foundation, with strong support from the South African Department of Science and Technology.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vanessa McBride.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

McBride, V., Venugopal, R., Hoosain, M. et al. The potential of astronomy for socioeconomic development in Africa. Nat Astron 2, 511–514 (2018).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing