As part of a long-term strategy (>10 years), the European Space Agency launched their new initiative EO AFRICA (African Framework for Research Innovation, Communities and Applications in Earth Observation), by the kick-off meeting of the EO AFRICA Research and Development Facility held on 1 March 2021. The initiative aims at building an African-European R&D partnership to facilitate the sustainable adoption of Earth Observation and related space technology in Africa, in harmony with the “Agenda 2063 – The Africa we want” of the African Union Commission (AUC) and driven by African research challenges and user needs.
The African Space Strategy of the African Union recognises the importance of Earth Observation as a crucial data and information acquisition tool to address Africa’s challenges. European EO satellites of the Copernicus Programme provide 1.2 petabyte data over the African continent annually that can be processed and utilised optimally only by using the latest computer technologies and developing advanced, scientifically sound information extraction techniques.
The overarching goal of the recently inaugurated EO AFRICA R&D Facility is to foster an African-European R&D collaboration enabling an active research community and creative innovation processes for continuous development of EO capabilities in Africa.
The R&D Facility will review the African EO research challenges and issue research calls for addressing the most relevant ones. It will offer modern cloud computing & digital tools for the researchers and support a range of collaborative activities and initiatives between the African and European research communities.