Assessing the contribution of space policy to development and security in Nigeria and South Africa
Oyewole, Samuel Oluwasegun
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The end of the Cold War has witnessed a significant increase in the actors and expansion in the interests that are involved in space. Beyond the growing importance of non-state actors, many developing countries have developed space strategies and transformed space politics from the exclusive club of technological advanced and powerful countries. These have also transformed national interests in space from militarised security and prestige to diverse (national and human) development and security aspirations. These developments call for maximum utility of space and attendant technologies, multidisciplinary approaches to space studies, with more room for social sciences, and attention for the underexplored experiences of the developing countries. Accordingly, this study interrogates decades of space activities in Nigeria and South Africa, and their contribution to the development and security aspirations of affected governments and peoples. This is critical to determine the utility of space policy and investment in these countries, and contribute to the development of African perspectives in space politics and policy studies, and associated narrative in International Relations. This study adopted multilayer triangulation, covering theory (such as utilitarianism, realism, liberalism, dependency and social constructivism), data (form – qualitative and quantitative – and sources – primary and secondary), research site (five locations per country), and (mixed) method. On these bases, the space policy interests of Nigeria and South Africa were reviewed with their strategic policy conceptions of development and security, and then interrogated in the framework of triangulated theory as well as their historical, socio-economic, and political backgrounds. This study further provides an overview of (state and non-state) actors that are involved in (civil, commercial and defence) space policy and strategies, and the underlining politics, in these countries. Amidst these, space capabilities, including institutions, human and financial resources, infrastructural facilities (for radio and optical astronomy; designing, assembling, integration, testing, launching and tracking of satellites; accessing and converting satellites data, among others) and space assets of Nigeria and South Africa were assessed. This study observed that space policy and capabilities of Nigeria and South Africa have had varying degrees of effects on economic growth and transformation, national competitiveness, local technological capacity, national defence, power projection, internal law enforcement, disaster management, human rights and freedom, democratisation and good governance, food and water security, environmental sustainability, quality of health and education systems, poverty alleviation and employment opportunities, and international cooperation. Nevertheless, space capabilities remain largely underutilised, and their potential impacts on development and security of these countries are yet to be fully realised. The study, therefore, recommends strategic management of available resources and cooperation for these countries to maximise utility from space and attendant technologies for their development and security.
- Humanities