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The Role of African Emerging Space Agencies in Earth Observation Capacity Building for Facilitating the Implementation and Monitoring of the African Development Agenda: The Case of African Earth Observation Program

Earth Observation Directorate, South African National Space Agency (SANSA), The Enterprise Building, Mark Shuttleworth Street, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(7), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8070292
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 27 June 2019
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Abstract

AU-Agenda 2063 was adopted at the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Heads of State and Government in 2015 as the blueprint for the future development of the continent. Built upon the continent’s past experiences, challenges, and successes, AU-Agenda 2063 comprehensively describes the strategic path for Africa’s future development in the next 50 years. Thus, the monitoring of its implementation in various African states is critical for ensuring sustainable development and track progress. However, the higher cost of collecting data for accurately and reliably monitoring the implementation of Agenda 2063 may hinder the progress towards achieving these goals. Satellite Earth observation provides ample data, and thus has provided opportunities for the development of novel products and services with the potential to support implementation, monitoring and reporting for AU-Agenda 2063 development imperatives. However, it has been limitedly exploited in Africa, as evidenced by lower research outputs and investments. This calls for increased capacity building in the use of available EO data and products for various users including decision makers to advance national, regional and continental priorities. The use of such data products is often hampered by the capability to understand the products and thus their value for addressing socio-economic challenges. This paper discusses the potential of Earth observation capacity building for supporting the implementation, monitoring of, and reporting towards achieving AU-Agenda 2063 development imperatives. Specifically, this paper identifies existing capacity building resources, including the role of open and free Earth observation data, open-source software, and product dissemination platforms that can be leveraged for supporting national development, service delivery and the achievement of AU-Agenda 2063 targets. Furthermore, the paper recognizes the importance of bilateral and multilateral partnerships in leveraging existing know-how, technology and other resources for advancing strategic goals of African emerging space agencies and promoting sustainable development, with examples from South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Then, the challenges and opportunities for capacity building and the wide adoption of EO in Africa are discussed in the context of AU-Agenda 2063. The paper thus concludes that EO capacity building is essential to address the skills and data gaps and increase the use of EO-based solutions for decision making in various sectors, critical for achieving AU-A2063. View Full-Text
Keywords: AU-Agenda 2063; Capacity building; Earth observation; UN-SDGs AU-Agenda 2063; Capacity building; Earth observation; UN-SDGs
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Kganyago, M.; Mhangara, P. The Role of African Emerging Space Agencies in Earth Observation Capacity Building for Facilitating the Implementation and Monitoring of the African Development Agenda: The Case of African Earth Observation Program. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 292.

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