The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advised the Nigerian youth to develop their skills and drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the space sector.
Pantami gave the advice at the closing ceremony of Hackathon Actinspace Competition organised by NIGCOMSAT Limited in Abuja.
The minister, who was represented by the Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, said the competition’s focus was critical to the needs of the space industry and humanity.
“Its gives us great opportunity to become major participants in the growing global digital economy thereby making ICT not just an enabler but a catalyst for economic growth,’’ he said.
Pantami said the competition targeted the creativity of the participants and also sharpened their entrepreneurial initiatives.
He said the various teams that took part in the competition where challenged to conceive and design innovative services and products derived from space technologies and space acquired data.
The minister advised the youth to develop specialised skills in order to empower themselves, saying it would enable them in building a workforce and establishing startups for the communication industry.
He advised the six teams and 25 participants to work hard as they have demonstrated capabilities in different projects.
The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Dr Abimbola Alale, said the competition had made the participants to be more creative and to bring out the best in them. Alale said the digital skills could drive the nation’s digital economy.
She said there was a need to expand and domesticate the satellite ecosystem in Nigeria. Mrs Alma Okpelefa, Chairperson, Local Organising Committee, said although the space technology appeared a bit abstract, the competition was meant to make the participants to understand the benefits of the sector.
Okpelefa, who named the winning group as Team Astromania from Kaduna State, said it would represent the country in France next year at a global contest.
The leader of the winning team, Mr Lamba Emmanuel, a student of telecommunication engineering of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, advised the youth never to be discouraged but rather to continue to learn new ideas.
He said the team sought to harness car and satellite data to create a sort of Automatic Identification System (ADS) consisting a space segment and a ground station segment.
It was said that Actinspance is an international competition targeted at students of tertiary institutions, IT startups and entrepreneurs to utilise space technologies to create solutions that improve everyday life.