The Federal Government exhorted investors to harness the potential of Africa's space sector to unleash creativity and promote sustainable development.
Nigeria’s Federal Government (FG) urged investors to leverage opportunities within the African space sector to advance its socio-economic goals during the opening ceremony of the African Space Economy Conference and Exhibition organised by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) in collaboration with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). The five-day event, themed Exploring Space Economy for Africas Economic Growth, was attended by key government officials, industry players, entrepreneurs, investors and scientists.
During his address, Professor Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso, the Technical Adviser on Programmes representing Uche Nnaji, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, emphasised the Federal Governments message to investors that Africa must harness the potential of the space sector to unleash creativity and promote sustainable development.
Space economy as an emerging sub-sector denotes the economic potential of a dynamic space sector and its role in human socio-economic development. This will create a platform to expand the continents involvement and partnership in the global space economy. We must channel our efforts into discovering solutions to our problems because Africa is strategically positioned to serve the continent and the world with its space assets. We can create jobs, reduce capital flight and improve technological innovations for the youths and the general public, he said.
Dr Halilu Shaba, Director-General (DG) of NASRDA, further stated that one of the conferences objectives was to build synergy between practitioners and investors in the space sector. Furthermore, he highlighted that NASRDA, established in 1999, was founded to harness the economic potential of space science and technology for the nation.
The Space Science and Technology industry was an exclusive enterprise of big government enterprises such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency, among others in the past. This has, however, changed in recent years because successful 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. We 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.
Furthermore, the DG urged participants to take advantage of the Business-To-Business opportunities to network with other like-minded people from across the globe.
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. Space is also becoming increasingly important for geopolitics, security and defence, while our freedom of action depends on safe, secure and autonomous access to space. Thus, the areas the conference will explore include space technology and communication, space technology and internally generated revenues, space technology and internal security, and Space Technology and Food Security, among others, stated the ACCI President, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, President of ACCI.
Adetokunbo Ogundeyin, General Managing Director, Proforce Galaxies Limited, stated that space technology had the full potential to change the security landscape in Nigeria and provide border surveillance, aid response and deterrence, prevent counterterrorism and kidnapping, advance maritime security and geospatial intelligence, among other interventions.
According to him, a nations space capabilities can enhance its international influence and diplomatic leverage and allow participation in international space collaborations and negotiations. It is time for Africa to ascend to new heights by harnessing space technology to secure the well-being and prosperity of our nations and seize the investment opportunities. He concluded.