Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

Applicability of near-real-time satellite data acquisition and analysis and distribution of geoinformation in support of African development

This report, prepared for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, reviews the status and prospects for remote sensing in Africa.

The authors argue that a real and immediate need exists for real-time remote sensing data to improve early warning, vulnerability assessment, mitigation, response and relief of disasters. This means, they say, supporting African countries to acquire data — including launching their own satellites, as well as improving bandwidth infrastructure and building capacity for analysing and processing geoinformation.

The authors highlight the continent's limited connectivity as a particularly challenging hurdle to overcome, as well as a lack of training and expertise in remote sensing. They briefly outline international donors' efforts to improve the situation and suggest improving collaboration and networking.