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  • Updated: May 17, 2023

Space Technology Crucial For Developing Digital Economy, Says Expert

Space Technology Crucial For Developing Digital Economy, Say

The National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers (NISEng), Dr Umar Abdullahi, stated on Wednesday that the country's digital economy is heavily dependent on space technology.

In Abuja, Abdullahi told NAN that individuals in charge of the nation's digital economy frequently fail to recognise the critical part that space technology may play in resolving pressing national issues.

“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.

In addition, Abdullahi stated that "with satellites, we could have the fastest speed and images that help with national security and precision agriculture."

Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are byproducts of the advancement of space technology, the national head of NISEng said.

According to him, they might aid in the design of systems for security, technological demonstration, and capacity.

Abdullahi noted that as of 2021, the worldwide report on the space economy had a value of about 120 billion dollars, notably leaving out underdeveloped nations and sub-Saharan Africa.

“We can’t afford to lose out of that chunk. We need to be part of that.

"As we are driving the digital economy and taking Nigeria forward, the space economy, which is intertwined, shouldn’t be forgotten.

“Nigeria needs to work very hard to ensure that the sector contributes its own quota and that it is not a missing link in the drive for the digital economy,’’ Abdullahi urged.

However, he stressed the necessity of creating an enabling space technology infrastructure to guarantee the sector's success.

“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 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.

According to Abdullahi, it is the responsibility of the government to create the necessary infrastructure in collaboration with the private sector.

"If we can open up, push for skills, capacity development and increase private sector participation, we can be sure of 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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