The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will host the Digital Earth Africa Program Management Office (PMO).
The appointment establishes an Africa-based infrastructure for Digital Earth Africa to ensure that the platform remains responsive to the continent’s needs, challenges, and priorities. In addition, it helps to continue its vision and mission to provide reliable and free access to earth observation data to tackle some of Africa’s greatest socio-economic and sustainability challenges.
‘‘It has always been fundamental for Digital Earth Africa to become fully operational in Africa, and I am delighted to announce this vital step in Digital Earth Africa’s growth. An Africa-based PMO allows us to tailor our platform even more to the needs of our users. It also signals an important step towards the complete transition of Digital Earth Africa to be owned and run by African organisations and stakeholders,’’ said Adam Lewis, Managing Director of the Digital Earth Africa Establishment Team.
The PMO, based in Pretoria, South Africa, will strengthen Digital Earth Africa’s already extensive network of partners from across the continent. Furthermore, it will provide leadership and direction as the program continues to deliver upon its strategic objectives.
According to Dr Val Munsami, SANSA CEO, ‘’SANSA has as its vision, ‘an integrated National Space Capability that responds to socio-economic challenges in Africa by 2030’. The coordination of the PMO through SANSA aligns with and supports the objectives of using space knowledge and technology to benefit all citizens on the continent.’’
The selection was made after careful assessment by an independent panel with majority representation from African organisations. As a result, there is confidence in the aligned missions and visions of SANSA and Digital Earth Africa and the capacity and capability of SANSA to host the PMO.
This agreement was made under the terms of a contract between SANSA and Geoscience Australia.
Alison Rose, Chief of Place, Space and Communities Division at Geoscience Australia and Co-Chair of the Digital Earth Africa Governing Board, said, ‘’Geoscience Australia is delighted to see such an active step taken to achieve Digital Earth Africa’s vision and mission. I, and the rest of the Board, look forward to working with SANSA to guide the program’s transition to Africa.’’
To transition functions, the current Establishment Team will work with SANSA and the PMO for the rest of 2021 into 2022.
About Digital Earth Africa
Digital Earth Africa exists to improve people’s lives across the African continent by translating earth observations into insights that will support sustainable development. Digital Earth Africa provides a routine, reliable and operational service, using earth observation data to deliver decision-ready products to enable policymakers, 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.
About the South African National Space Agency
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established on 9 December 2010 through the South African National Space Agency Act, 36 of 2008. SANSA provides for the promotion of and cooperation in space-related activities, fosters research in space science, advances scientific engineering through human capital and supports the development of an environment conducive to industrial development in space technologies.
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