Unlocking the Promise of Tomorrow from Patterns of the Past

Vijaye Lutchmun, High Commissioner of Mauritius, Gita Kamath, High Commissioner of Australia and Val Munsami, CEO of SANSA at the launch

8 October 2021

Gita Kamath, High Commissioner of Australia to South Africa hosted the launch of the Digital Earth Africa Program Management Office (PMO) on 6 October 2021, during World Space Week. The PMO will be hosted by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and, said SANSA’s CEO, Dr Val Munsami, while Australia and South Africa are rivals in especially the sporting fields, they also collaborate resulting in win-win situations. One such collaboration where Australia and South Africa work closely together is the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world's largest radio telescope.

Digital Earth Africa is an Australian innovation that improves the lives of people across the African continent by translating Earth observations into support for sustainable development. Digital Earth Africa provides a routine, reliable and operational service, using Earth observations to deliver decision-ready products enabling policy makers, scientists, the private sector and civil society to address social, environmental and economic changes on the continent and develop an ecosystem for innovation across sectors.

“Digital Earth Africa takes freely available data used by satellites over the last 30 years, and uses Australian technology to generate decision-ready information which policy makers, academics, scientists and people all over the world, but particularly those in Africa, can use to create solutions to African challenges,” said Kamath. “Putting accessible, open and free data into the hands of decision makers is powerful. And the program offers an opportunity for governments and industry across Africa to work towards a more sustainable continent.”

The importance of Digital Earth Africa is evidenced by the African Union Summit in January 2016 approving the African Space Policy and the African Space Strategy, said Munsami. Further, at the AU Summit in January 2019, the African heads of State approved Egypt as the host country for an African Space Agency. About hosting the PMO Munsami said, “SANSA has at the heart of its vision the development of an integrated National Space Capability that responds to the socio-economic challenges in Africa by 2030. Now, through the Digital Earth Africa programme office, we can offer even more solutions to our fellow Africans.”

“Digital Earth Africa provides a continental-scale service, and we would invite anyone interested in change detection, Earth observation or a more sustainable future for the African continent to engage with the platform and try it out for yourself, ” said Dr Lisa Hall, Managing Director of the Digital Earth Africa Establishment Team at the launch.

Read more about Digital Earth Africa at: https://www.digitalearthafrica.org/

by Anisha Pemjee