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Cablegate: Nigeria's Space Agency Working with American

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #2099 2711209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281209Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1077
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 7988
RUEANAT/NASA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS ABUJA 002099

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFCS/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPA KSCA ETRD BEXP CVIS PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA'S SPACE AGENCY WORKING WITH AMERICAN
COMPANIES

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) Summary: The National Space Research and Development
Agency (NASRDA) has a growing interest in working with U.S.
companies. Emerging areas include possibility of antenna
production in-country and telemedicine. The NASRDA Director
General visited Embassy recently and received a tutorial on
how his staff could better prepare visa applications for
training and buying missions to the U.S. This message also
describes NASRDA key achievements and goals, which are
focused on remote sensing and telecommunications. End
summary.

2. (SBU) NASDRA DG Robert Boroffice and Deputy Director Ayo
Atepola called on the Charge September 24 to describe
NASDRA's efforts to work with U.S. companies and how training
and sales were sometimes frustrated by nonissuance of visas
to visit the U.S. DCM, Econ Chief, and ESTH Officer also
attended the meeting. NASDRA is looking to work with the
Harris Corporation of Florida to establish a National
Geospacial Data Bank, Boroffice said. The space agency is
also in discussions with Patriot Antenna Systems of Michigan
regarding the possibility of manufacturing antennas in Lagos
together with Nigerian commercial partners. Most antennas are
currently imported from Dubai or China. NASDRA is also
supporting the development of telemedicine in Nigeria,
working with American hospitals via DVC. That effort will
expand beyond two teaching hospitals in Maiduguri and Ibadan
to include more informal health clinics in rural areas. The
agency is specifically looking to bring telemedicine to the
Niger Delta, to reduce health care costs and support
development efforts there.

3. (SBU) Boroffice reported that the pending deal with
Patriot was proceeding more slowly than anticipated because
some of his staff had not been able to visit the U.S.
company. Likewise, some of those involved in the
telemedicine effort had not been able to obtain visas to
train on Hughes equipment in the U.S. NASDRA had paid for
other staff to receive NASA training, but had to send them to
Italy instead, due to nonissuance of the American visas.

4. (SBU) Ambassador Gribbin gave Boroffice and Atepola a
quick tutorial on the visa application process, stressing
that business travelers needed to apply as individuals well
in advance of planned travel, and to provide a clear letter
of support from NASDRA as well as a letter of invitation from
the American company. Econ Chief told Boroffice that Embassy
would do a report of the meeting to serve as a reference for
Consular and Commercial colleagues regarding the space
agencies efforts to work with U.S. firms. Boroffice noted
that most applicants connected with NASDRA apply in Lagos.

5. (U) NASDRA has two satellites in the skies and one more in
the works. NigeriaSat-1 was launched from Russian in 2003 to
share disaster-related data and also provide information on
land use, pollution, and landscape changes. NigeriaComsat-1
was launched in May 2007 from China's Sichuan Province and
will provide voice, data, video, internet and application
services for Africa. NigeriaSat-2 is scheduled for launch in
2009 and will take over remote sensing functions from Sat-1
as the latter's transmissions are expected to end sometime in
2008.
GRIBBIN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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