After years of neglecting the advances made in Space exploration and the science around the world, the governments of African countries are finally seeing the vast potential that lies in space and how this can attribute to the growth of the continent. Nations like Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Nigeria have all invested and pursued an interest in their own space programs and In May, Kenya joined this cohort through a partnership with Japan to position its own home-designed nanosatellite in space.
The African Union’s science and technology department recently inked a deal with the European Commission’s Copernicus, Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo, Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology Department at the African Union Commission signed a landmark Copernicus Cooperation Arrangement with his counterpart Philippe Brunet, Copernicus Director at European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium giving African countries access to Copernicus free and open source data which generates 12 terabytes of earth observation data daily. This will give African scientists access to three sets of satellites that offer digital aerial photographs of sea topography, land temperature, vegetation changes, and weather patterns.
As part of the deal, African scientists and institutions will also receive technical support from European research and space agencies, easing the process of cross-country and agency collaboration. The deal builds on previous European and African cooperation when it comes to deploying satellites to especially help deal with the impacts of a changing climate. Africa is extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change compared to other continents. Even while emitting the smallest global share of greenhouse gases, the continent is experiencing droughts, heatwaves, floods, and rising sea levels more frequently, Quartz Reports.
Most countries in Africa lacked the technical know-how and funds needed to help nurture a healthy environment for space exploration and science but with the new vigor and partnerships being formed, the geospatial information being gathered on the continent with the satellites can help improve agriculture, guard tropical forests from deforestation, climate change, improve disaster planning, and provide internet to rural communities.