L-R: Dr Halilu Shaba, Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, Prof. Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso; Technical Adviser to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar; President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Engr. Adetokunbo Ogundeyin; General Managing-Director, Proforce Galaxies Limited, at the exhibition tour of the African Space Economy Conference and Exhibition

FG urges investors to leverage African space sector for emancipation

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By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

The Federal Government has urged investors to leverage opportunities in the African space sector for its liberalisation, saying that the continent is strategically positioned to deliver space-based services to the world.

Mr Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, said this on Monday at the opening of a 5-day maiden edition of the African Space Economy Conference and Exhibition.

The conference is being organised by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), in collaboration with Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

The programme is with the theme “Exploring Space Economy for Africa’s Economic Growth”, having industry players, businessmen, scientists, students and the government in participation.

Represented by Prof. Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso, Technical Adviser on Programmes, Nnaji said that Africa needed to explore the immense potential hidden in the space sector to harness creativity and sustainable development.

“Space economy as an emerging sub-sector of global space ecosystem denotes the economic potential of a dynamic space sector and the role it can play in human socio-economic development.

“This will create a platform to expand African involvement and partnership in global space economy opportunities.

“It is crucial we channel our efforts in discovering solutions to our problems because Africa is in a strategic position to serve the continent and the world with her arrays of space assets.

“We can create jobs, reduce capital flight and improve technological innovations for our youthful population and the general public,” he said.

The minister urged the participants to leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution and other disruptive technologies to the advantage of the country.

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Dr Halilu Shaba, Director-General of NASRDA, said part of the objectives of the conference was to build synergy between practitioners and investors in the space sector.

Shaba recalled that NASRDA was established in 1999 to help the nation to explore the economic potential derived from space science and technology.

“The Space Science and Technology industry was an exclusive preserve of big government enterprises such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency, among others in the time past.

“This has however changed in the recent years because big private individuals such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and many others have become big players in the space industry.

“The conference is one of the strategic efforts of NASRDA to open up the space ecosystem for appreciation, utilisation and patronage.

“It is our hope that many investors in Africa would see the potential in the industry and begin to invest for the economic emancipation of our continent,” he said.

Shaba called on the participants to take advantage of the ‘Business-To-Business’ opportunities to network from other like-minded people from across the globe.

Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, President, ACCI, said that the space industry was growing rapidly, with about 10 per cent annual growth rate, while the African continent was yet to leverage on the growth.

Abubakar said that Africa was still lacking the requisite policy framework needed for robust facilitation and regulation of the sub-sector.

“The African space economy in 2021 was estimated to be valued at 19.49 billion dollars and is projected to grow by 16.16 per cent to 22.64 billion dollars by 2026.

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“Space is also becoming increasingly important for geopolitics, security and defense, while our freedom of action depends on a safe, secure and autonomous access to space,” he said.

Abubakar further said that the conference would mirror developmental issues to impact governance.

The reas the conference would explore, he said, include: Space Technology and Communication, Space Technology and Internally Generated Revenues, Space Technology and Internal Security, Space Technology and Food Security, among others.

Mr Adetokunbo Ogundeyin, General Managing-Director, Proforce Galaxies Limited,said that space technology had the full potential to change the security landscape in Nigeria.

Ogundeyin said that space technology can provide border surveillance, response and deterrence, prevent counterterrorism and kidnapping, maritime security and geospatial intelligence, among other interventions.

According to him, a nation’s space capabilities can enhance its international influence, diplomatic leverage and allow participation in international space collaborations and negotiations.

He said that investment opportunities in space economy can benefit everyone, adding that it encompasses space manufacturing, infrastructure development, human capital development, space startups and entrepreneurship.

Ogundeyin said, “It is time for Africa to ascend to new heights by harnessing space technology to secure the well-being and prosperity of our nations, seize the opportunities for investment that lie on the African frontier of space exploration.”

There was an exhibition tour of space-generated innovations by dignitaries. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

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