Nigeria Needs To Adopt Integration Of Satellite Data In Its Next Census

Nigeria Needs To Adopt Integration Of Satellite Data In Its Next Census

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, a designation every Nigerian wants to remind the world. It had more than 182m citizens in 2015, according to the World Bank, and is poised to have the world’s third-largest population, behind India and China, by 2050.

But really, the 182m moves from 160m to 200m depending on who is writing. How can a country be run like that?

Until there is an accurate, impartial census it will be impossible to know just how many Nigerians there really are. That means government policy will not be fully anchored in reality and it will not be possible to send resources where they are most needed.

Even local and foreign investors need accurate numbers to help drive the allocation of capital. We suggest one solution – satellite data integration into census. This will help in the area of validation. Companies like Planet Lab can provide such for the country. Nigeria may need research that mimics this and then refine same at scale to make this work. The satellite data is just for integrity purposes and validation.

India conducts its census every ten years. Census data is collected manually in India with enumerators visiting every household in the country. Being such a vast country (in terms of area) and with a population of more than 1 billion, manual data collection is a laborious and expensive process.

NIGCOMSAT and NARSDA can lead this project. With this, Nigeria can quote its population number with lesser ambiguity.

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