Earth Observation for the growth of Blue Economy in Africa
Hailu Wudineh
22 November 2017
The possible contributions of Earth Observation applications for Blue growth in Africa under the GMES & Africa Support programme was tabled for discussion
at the Africa GIS Conference, being held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Conference Center, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Africa GIS 2017 Conference brings together policy makers, academia, private sectors, EO data providers and partners in the field of Earth Observation from Africa and the world.
In his keynote presentation the GMES & Africa Support Programme Marine and Coastal Resource expert, Mr. David Kirugara, noted that Africa’s maritime industry is valued at more than 1 trillion revenue every year. The African Union Commission promotes Blue Economy development approach and encourages African member States to formulate strategies that will diversify their economic base and catalyze socioeconomic transformation by exploiting huge and potential opportunities in a range of productive sectors, including fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, shipbuilding, energy, bio-prospecting, and underwater mining and related activities added David.
The African Union’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy describes the Blue Economy as the new frontier of African Renaissance and recognizes and encourages African countries of the importance of paying greater attention to their maritime interests including securing the conditions for those working and living off the oceans. GMES & Africa programme will leverage on the rapidly evolving Earth Observation technologies for the sustainable use of marine and coastal resource management in Africa.
Mr. Kirugara also highlighted that Blue economy is not just about oceans, but also about seas, lakes, rivers, ponds and groundwater, and thus is of crucial importance to Marine and Coastal Resource and Water Resources Management, under consideration in GMES and Africa Initiative.
Relevance of Earth Observation to the Realization of  Africa's Agenda 2063

The GMES & Africa Support Programme (G&A) is jointly financed by the African Union Commission and European Commission. It uses Earth Observation and space technologies to generate information and services for sustainable development of African people and sustainable environmental management on land and marine resources. GMES & Africa aimed at improving African policy-makers' and planners' capacities to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data and derived information. A successor Programme of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA), G&A presents several key innovations: For the first time, with the inclusion of the north African countries, the Programme is pan African. It is totally managed by the African Union Commission. It will promote the broadcast of Sentinel data (Copernicus Programme). It will include the African private sector and national/regional academia.