The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) and NEPAD have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the former will support various programmes of the latter with Earth observation products and services. (NEPAD originally stood for New Partnership for Africa’s Development, but this full name no longer seems to be used.)
“We remain committed to ensuring the integration of African space-based knowledge and technology in improving the lives of fellow Africans and welcome such esteemed partnerships in achieving this objective,” affirmed Sansa CEO Dr Val Munsami. The Sansa products and services will be used to support such important NEPAD programmes as urban planning and infrastructure monitoring, integrated water resources management, sustainable agriculture and food security, and sustainable forestry management, among other initiatives, for the benefit of societies.
In particular, NEPAD’s 2025 Vision on the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) depends upon spatial decision support systems for its implementation. The satellite-based remote sensing products and services that will be provided by Sansa will play an essential role in aiding these spatial decision support systems. The CAADP is the continent’s policy framework for transforming agriculture, ensuring food security and nutrition, growing economies, creating wealth and achieving prosperity for everyone. It is a pan-African initiative, establishing principles and broad strategies to assist African countries.
Other NEPAD programmes that will be supported include the Action Plan for the Environment Initiative and the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative. Sansa products and services will also help NEPAD to assist the African Union (AU) to monitor the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN SDGs are, in turn, in line with the execution of the first Ten Year Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063.
“The achievement of Agenda 2063 requires innovative partnerships that enhance evidence-based planning and implementation for real transformative impacts on the continent,” stated NEPAD Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki. Because of the MoU, Sansa products and services based on earth observation data will help reinforce evidence-based policy formulation and country planning across Africa.
More specifically, six sets of themes have been identified as foci for the partnership between the two agencies regarding Agenda 2063. The first of these – in the order released by Sansa in a press release – is to strengthen country planning and evidence-based policy creation, as well as “monitoring of transformative value of development agenda to increase the application of sustainable development agenda”.
The second set of themes comprises reinforcing coordination and accountability mechanisms at both country and regional levels, and pushing a more widely based championing of African development, at the country, regional and global levels. Next is the creation of knowledge of, or more widely promoting, the use of geo-information among African decision-makers.
The fourth set of themes is the use of earth observation data by public services to assist with sustainable development and to strengthen the planning capacity of States to improve service delivery in their respective countries. Fifth, to make public services across the continent more familiar with the value of earth observation data and, more particularly, of Sansa’s data products and services. Finally, encourage the use of earth observation data in the planning, delivering and monitoring the results of NEPAD Agency programmes, as well as in decision-making.
Sansa was established in 2010 and is composed of four directorates. These are Sansa Earth Observation, Sansa Space Operations, Sansa Space Science, and Sansa Space Engineering. The NEPAD Agency – its full title being the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency – was also set up in 2010 as the implementation institution for NEPAD. It replaced the previous NEPAD Secretariat.