Our #WCW is the MD and CEO of Nigeria Communication Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT), Abimbola Alale. She is the only female boss of a major satellite company in Africa, Europe and The Middle East.
Before her appointment by former Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan, Alale was the marketing director of the company, a position she held since 2016. Her career started at the National Space Research and Development Agency, where she was a project secretary. She has also worked on various national projects including the Nigcomsat 1R project.
Abimbola love for astronauts saw head to the International Space University in France to undertake her postgraduate studies in Space Studies and MBA, Space Management.
While Nigeria has a space program, many Nigerians are not sure about the benefits of such a program—something Alale seeks to change. She then focused on space business as a way to introduce the benefits of space to Nigeria and show them how it can be used as a tool to bridge the digital divide in the country. However, it is not without challenges.
“My biggest obstacle in this journey of my career has been distractions from people who do not understand what space or satellite does for them. They do not understand the benefits; they do not understand that most of the things they actually enjoy come at a direct or indirect spinoff from space technology,” Alale said in an interview.
In her position, Alale envisions the achievement of desired ICT penetration in Nigeria. As per June 2017, Nigeria has 91.6 million internet users according to the Nigeria Communications Commission.
Alale discovered she was the only female CEO at the Mederleson in Africa Satellite Operating Association meeting in Washington. Consequently, she has been encouraging girls and women to compete with men in software and computer application.
“Do not limit your views to your discipline alone. Let me tell you in case you don’t know, all disciplines are now ICT driven; you can’t do without ICT. So expand your view and embrace ICT,” she said during the celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in Abuja.
Her efforts in bridging the digital divide were recognised when NIGCOMSAT received the Most Outstanding Government Agency of the Year. She also shared the ICT Woman of the Year award with the CEO of MainOne, Funke Opeke at the Africa Digital Awards.