Africa is endowed with large tracts of forests, heterogeneous biodiversity and abundant natural resources. Her agricultural potential is vast and untapped. Agenda 2063 of the African Union aspires that by 2063, Africa will have modernized her agriculture and multiplied her production. Africa’s Blue economy, which is three times the size of its landmass, shall be a major contributor to continental transformation and growth, advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport and fishing; and exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other resources. By this time Africa would have harnessed her green economy, and managed the sustainable use of her finite natural resources, among others.
The African Union recognizes and prioritizes skills revolution and human capital development underpinned by Science, Technology and Innovation, which are also the bedrock for realizing the Aspirations of the Agenda 2063. As President Nkrumah said “It is within the possibility of science and technology to make even the Sahara bloom into a vast field with verdant vegetation for agricultural and industrial developments”.
In cognizance of the above paradigm shift, the Agenda 2063 identified an African Outer Space Programme as one of its flagships, positioned to enable Africa to harness space sciences, technologies, infrastructure, and applications for socio-economic development. Among the pillars of the Flagship is Earth Observation (EO), in which GMES & Africa is a contributing programme.
The GMES & Africa Training Strategy will accelerate the skills revolution in EO applications on land and water, with an objective to strengthen human, space-based and in-situ infrastructural capacities in Africa; develop user-centric EO services, and foster communication to ensure seamless provision of evidence-based information that adds value to everyday decisions across communities of these sectors.