Space geodesy is one of the disciplines that contributes uniquely to the global society; its applications have grown to such an extent that system Earth is better understood today. The current accuracy of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technique is below centimetre level and this allows very accurate determination of velocity field parameters. This study focused on utilizing GNSS to determine the inter-continental plate velocity field for Africa in support of the African Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF). Data spanning 12.4 years were processed in the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF2008) using GAMIT/GLOBK 10.4 (developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Primarily, processing of data focused on International GNSS Service (IGS) stations with a few non-IGS stations (which are of geodetic quality) included, such as Hamburg (HAMB) and Matjiesfontein (MATJ). The same data set was analysed using the Combination and Analyses of Terrestrial Reference Frame (CATREF) software developed at Institut National de l’Information Géographique et Forestière (IGN). Validation of the results was achieved through comparison of the velocity solution from this study with a solution obtained from a core of IGS GNSS stations processed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). No significant differences were evident between the GAMIT/GLOBK 10.4, CATREF and JPL solutions. The results from the Matjiesfontein station indicated that the proposed Matjiesfontein Observatory site shows no significant vertical or horizontal local motion; this information is valuable in that there is no obvious local site instability. The velocity field as derived by GNSS displays no unexpected deviations and supports current understanding of the motion of the Nubian, Somalian and Arabian plates. Furthermore, the comparison of the velocity vectors derived from the IGS station HRAO, Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) MOBLAS-6 station and 26 m Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) telescope, which are collocated at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) indicated good agreement and both techniques exhibit no significant vertical motion. This study also contributed to the first computation of the AFREF solution. It is envisaged that as more stations are added to the sparsely distributed current network, more accurate results and better tectonic models can be derived. The availability of station velocities will facilitate adjustments within the AFREF.