- Space technology plays a key role in developing the digital economy of the country notably national security and agriculture.
- The global report on the space economy was over 120 billion dollars, with sub-Saharan Africa missing in the numbers.
- Nigeria can open up, push for skills, and capacity development and increase private sector participation, to secure investors.
The National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers, Dr Umar Abdullahi says that space technology plays a key role in developing the digital economy of the country.
Abdullahi revealed that those driving the country’s digital economy, tend to overlook the important role space technology could play in addressing national concerns.
Global report on the space economy
Abdullahi recalled that as of 2021, the global report on the space economy was over 120 billion dollars, with largely developing countries and sub-Saharan Africa missing in the numbers.
According to him;
- “We can’t afford to lose out of that chunk. We need to be part of that”.
He added that the country is driving the digital economy and to take Nigeria forward, the space economy, which is inter-twined, should not be forgotten.
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to make more efforts, just to ensure that the sector contributes its own quota and that it is not creating a gap in thrive for the digital economy.
Abdullahi believes this can be achieved by building space technology infrastructure, that would ensure that the sector thrived.
- “While the country’s space agency has the robust human capability to drive space and satellite technology development, the Assembly, Integration, Testing and Design Centre required for any space development is lacking”.
- “If you have this facility, what you are able to do is to harness skills and potential. Even if you send engineers and scientists for training and they come back without trying out what they learnt, in a few months, they will forget all that.
- “This is a sector changing by the second, which means that what you even knew yesterday is not applicable today. So, it is more difficult when you are not practising it,’’ the chairman said.
The importance of space technology
- “We mostly talk about the activities of the IT sector where you have the data centres, IT hubs, startups, then the telecom sector largely driven by mobile networks.
- “All these are good and encouraging, but at the same time we also have the space sector which has the ability to totally change the narrative for Nigeria and developing countries.
- “When you come to IT infrastructure, we know the difficulty we have in terms of Right of Way for fibre optics, insecurity in certain parts and most times the telecom infrastructure destroyed or not available.
- “With space technology and satellites, this can totally overcome the boundaries. You can sit anywhere and have wide global coverage and connectivity,’’ he said.
Space tech impact on national security and agriculture
Abdullahi further said:
- ”With satellites, we could have the fastest speed and images that help in national security and precision agriculture.”
The NISEng national chairman added that on the spin-off of space technology development, drones and unmanned aerial vehicles existed.
He said these could help design systems for security, as well as for technology demonstration and capacity.
What the government can do
Abdullahi said it was up to the government to provide the enabling infrastructure in partnership with the private sector.
He is of the opinion that the country can open up, push for skills, capacity development and increase private sector participation, to enable the country to secure investors.
- “Investors invest where they feel there is a chance and assurance. Once you can give confidence, the value chain, everybody will put in their money”.
- “We don’t even have to worry because the space sector is enough to solve most of our problems in agriculture, security, innovation, education and more,’’ he added.
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