CNES and Aerospace Valley Launch SME Africa Initiative

Press Release from CNES

The Centre Nationale D’Etude Spatiales (CNES) and Aerospace Valley have launched SMEs Africa. It is a new initiative to develop and promote Copernicus Earth Observation data. In particular, it will ensure Copernicus data access to end-users in four African countries. This access will consequently help the countries face climate change issues.

SMEs Africa’s two specific objectives

Support export business for European SMEs towards three African countries (Senegal, Ethiopia and South Africa). 

After a call for interest last January, 15 SMEs from 7 European countries will participate in this project. Thus, the selected companies are VisioTerra, Pixstart, Action Air Environnement, Noveltis, Murmuration, TerraNIS SAS, SpaceSense, LuxCarta Technologie, DIGINOVE (France); Planetek Italia (Italy); Omanos Analytics (UK); Detektia Earth Surface Monitoring S.L (Spain); Big Terra (Czech Republic); Space4Good (Netherlands) and Soilwatch (Belgium). Additionally, Business France will help these companies prepare and sign trading agreements. Business France will also help the companies generate sustainable export growth and will cover a one-year support mission (June 2021 to May 2022) 

Sensitise the actors in four African countries (Senegal, Ethiopia, South Africa and Gabon) to the use of Copernicus data : 

Africa is currently facing many challenges in terms of sustainable development and resources. However, the internet and space data can ensure helpful solutions to these challenges. Thus, missions carried out under SMEs Africa will sensitise and train these countries to use Copernicus data. Consequently, this will help Africa use largely unexploited data and remedy Africa’s lack of infrastructure. 

Africa, an emerging continent full of internet and space opportunities. Key-data, according to the African Union Commission:

  • The population in the 55 countries composing the African continent has doubled in the last 27 years.
  • Around 8,000 people work in the Space industry in Africa: 2,000 in commercial companies and 6,000 in governmental organisations such as space programmes and research centres.
  • African space industry value today : USD 7.37 billion; by 2024 : USD 10.29 billion (+ 40%)
  • African expenditure to create its digital wealth: USD 5 billion / African expenditure outside of the continent to access digital world services: USD 400 billion
  • In 2019, Africa launched 35 satellites, by 2024, Africa will have launched 64. 
  • In 2015, 16% of the African population used the internet, by 2024 these figures should rise to 50%. 

The European Commission funds the SMEs Africa project and the funding is in the frame of the Caroline Herschel Framework Partnership Agreement. CNES has launched the project with support from The African Union Commission. For more information on SMEs in Africa, please visit here

CNES is the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe.

Based in France, Aerospace Valley Is the world’s first aerospace cluster. With its five excellency ecosystems, Aerospace Valley drives a supportive, competitive and attractive community. Aerospace Valley aims at fostering innovation in view of growth.

Business France is the French authority for fostering export growth by SMEs and mid-sized companies. 


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