Ready and Willing, GMES & Africa Takes off
By Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, GMES & Africa Coordinator
12 April 2018

GMES & Africa has entered a defining chapter of its history, after the initial phase of designing the programme framework, establishing its constituent structures and identifying institutions suitable for the implementation of the Grants. Now is the time to deliver the goods.

This stage is no doubt the most practical, as we begin the journey of active engagement with consortia of institutions with a due diligence exercise meant to strengthen their capacities and streamline their levels of preparedness to implement the Grants. In tandem with the AUC’s grant management system, the consortia are appraised against meticulous benchmarks on procurement, budgeting, reporting, training and communications, among other technical parameters. It is the African Union Commission’s enterprise to measure, guide, monitor and evaluate performance through an integrated, virtual grant management system.

GMES & Africa has the mandate to address two main Services which reflect the identified needs of the continent and the expediency deduced from the predecessor projects, especially MESA. The Natural and Water Resources Service focuses on long-term management of natural resources, and water resources management; whilst the Marine and Coastal Service is entirely dedicated to the Marine & Coastal thematic area.

The process of implementation will rest on key modules where concrete outcomes are discernable. Through education and training, GMES and Africa will build the capacity of African public and private sectors in engendering and utilizing EO information for sustainable development in Africa. Overall, the imperatives are timely access to data by stakeholders, efficient processing and analysis, proficient information packaging, and harmonious communication between decision makers and end users.


Technically, the implementation will involve the development of new applications, and the fusion of previously disjointed services under MESA to generate and maximize much needed capacity and infrastructure. At the same time, prudence will dictate that some existing applications be extended to other institutions that are in need of such facilities, in order to economize resources, strengthen capacity and foster collaboration among regional players. Indeed, such partnership will be powered by strategic communications through extensive outreach and awareness-raising to inform and engage policy makers, the private sector, scientists, academia and end users.


Leaning against such a strategic policy and operational edifice, and with the support of all stakeholders, GMES and Africa is positioned to enable the continent’s provision of basic necessities such as food, shelter, a clean and healthy environment, and proper education for its growing population.”

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