Intergovernmental organisation Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Africa is participating in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week and Ministerial Summit 2023 as an observer agency. GMES Africa, a joint initiative between the European Commission and African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since its establishment in 2009, GMES Africa has focused on providing usable satellite data to the African Union, African governments, and other end-users in areas such as lands and waters, coastal and marine.
The data provided by GMES Africa has proven to be valuable in various sectors of AU and member governmental operations, including health, mining, and safety and security. The organisation emphasizes that the satellite data is processed to ensure its usefulness to customers. Europe’s role in GMES Africa has primarily been funding the initiative rather than influencing data selection or format. The European Commission has provided €60 million in funding for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of GMES Africa.
GMES Africa operates through eight consortia that involve approximately 200 institutions. The initiative is a crucial element in Africa’s space policy and has contributed to the establishment of the African Space Agency. The space agency focuses on earth observation applications, geopositioning, and the distribution of geolocalised satellite data to facilitate its rapid and easy accessibility.
Incorporating GMES Africa into the African Space Agency will provide the agency with an institutional and personnel framework. By collaborating with other earth observation initiatives like GEO, GMES Africa aims to synergize efforts in delivering valuable satellite data to Africa. The organisation highlights that all data provided by the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation satellite constellation is provided free but is not limited to using this data source. GMES Africa is committed to meeting Africa’s specific data needs and supporting the continent’s development through its space capabilities.