📌 Meet our investment in this space: Amini
- Africa is the fastest-growing emerging market with its abundant natural resources and expanding manufacturing scene. Many of the raw materials needed for the green transition are found there.
- Africa is considered one of the least prepared and most vulnerable regions to climate change. Still, it lacks the data to effectively plan and prepare for the effects, threatening the stability of global markets and food security.
- The proper environmental data infrastructure will help Africa collect, standardize, process, and analyze data to safeguard its people, value chains, and the planet.
Data availability across Africa
Africa is considered one of the least prepared and most vulnerable regions to climate change, and its population is projected to reach 25% of the world's population by 2050. It is also considered a data desert due to the significant lack of data, especially on the environmental conditions of the continent. This lack of data can hinder decision-making, research, and analysis, making it challenging to understand and address issues effectively.
Data collection across Africa has increased in recent years, but it can be difficult to obtain, process, and understand without domain-specific expertise.
There are both government and commercial satellites collecting data over Africa. Government missions usually provide the data they collect to the public, whereas commercial providers charge for access but may have a better resolution or the ability to request specific data. Some examples from the public side include:
- Landsat (United States): Currently on its 9th mission (launched in 2021), Landsat is a collaboration between NASA and the US Geological Survey to collect environmental data. Landsat satellites capture imagery in multiple spectral bands (visible, near-infrared, short-wave infrared, and thermal infrared) to enable the analysis of various Earth surface features and processes.
- Terra, Aqua, and Aura (United States): The three flagship satellites of NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) program of 18 satellites. All three satellites have long passed their designed life expectancy.
- Sentinel (Europe): Operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the Copernicus program to provide data for environmental monitoring, land management, and climate change studies. There are currently six Sentinel satellites in operation, each designed to collect specific types of data.
- Meteosat (Europe): Operated by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Meteosat monitors weather patterns and environmental conditions over Europe, Africa, and parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Of the 55 members of the African Union, many nations have space programs (at least 21), and 13 have launched their own satellites. In 2023, the African Union Commission launched the African Space Agency (AfSA) to coordinate space technology on the continent.
Weather data across Africa is generally sparse and unreliable. It has just one-eighth the density of weather stations recommended by the World Meteorological Organization, and of those, only 22% meet its reporting standards. This lack of meteorological data makes early warning and detection of extreme weather events very difficult, especially as weather grows more unpredictable in the face of a changing climate.