A continental-scale platform using satellite data for decision-ready information and insights of environmental conditions to drive decision making is ready to be rolled out across Africa by Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa).

DE Africa will use Earth Observations from satellites to track changes across the continent in unprecedented detail, translating data which will enable governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and individuals to make more informed decisions about agriculture, deforestation, desertification, water quality and changes in human settlements.

“Space technologies can enable governments in Africa address climate-related challenges: to better understand crop distribution, changing seasons, and use of agricultural land in rural areas; as well as better protect its forests and water towers,” said Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for defense, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo.

She noted the science enables countries across the continent to leapfrog the cost of data analytics and democratise through open access, earth observations and geospatial data in response to everyday development challenges and enable them to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Amb. Omamo was speaking during DE Africa Day, which was held in Nairobi as part of the Regional Centre for Mapping for Resources Development (RCMRD) International Conference & 4thAfriGEO Symposium, where she was the chief guest.

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation Hon. William Kwesi, says the utilization of this data will be key to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The other side of this conversation must involve policymakers and legislators to increase understanding of and commitment to the use of this data to inform our work.

We need to fast-track the data revolution to provide the right information, at the right time and make it universally accessible to all.” Mr. William Kwasi added.

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hon. Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, says Sierra Leone is already utilizing Earth Observation Data to drive its development agenda especially in the implementation of the SDGs.

“Operationalization of the African Regional Data Cube under Digital Earth Africa will greatly improve the use and impact of Earth Operation Data while also increasing the capacity across users in government.

We need to work together will all stakeholders in data for development and ensure that we build a strong and enduring partnership one with commitment and full-on actions required to unlock access to crucial data and information.”

Once fully established DE Africa will provide decision-ready data on issues ranging from flooding through to droughts, including soils, coastal erosion, agriculture, forest, mining, and human settlement.

This will enable policymakers, scientists, the private sector and civil society to address sustainable development challenges and develop an ecosystem for innovation across sectors.

“Today, we have heard high-level political perspectives on the importance of Earth observation data to address key issues across Africa, and the need for DE Africa.

It will scale up the technology for accessing and analysing earth observations, first operationalised in Australia through Digital Earth Australia, across the continent,” said Australian High Commissioner, Alison Chartres.

The Managing Director of DE Africa Establishment Team, Dr Adam Lewis, noted to successfully institutionalise the programme“we want to partner and collaborate at events like today to ensure alignment with other related programs, both supporting them and working together.

“The platform will unlock the potential of Earth observations and provide a routine, reliable and operational service to deliver decision-ready products in response to these challenges.

By using this satellite data governments will be able to make informed policies to drive economic growth and will enable businesses to innovate and create new products creating new growth opportunities.”

DE Africa will eventually be a sovereign operational and analytic capability of Africa, with in-country expertise in data analysis, use, and management.

The office will be established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. DE Africa has been co-funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Australian Government.

Source :Henry Githaiga

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