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Agreement facilitates Africa’s access to European weather satellite data – TOP AFRICA NEWS

The African Union Commission (AUC) and Europe’s meteorological satellite agency, EUMETSAT, have signed an agreement to further strengthen cooperation on Earth observation.

The memorandum of understanding opens the way for access by African environmental and meteorological services to EUMETSAT’s data from its next-generation satellite systems. It provides the framework for EUMETSAT and AUC to cooperate on deploying new infrastructure to receive data and build educational materials to ensure the biggest possible impact from the satellite data.

EUMETSAT has begun to deploy its Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellite system, with the launch of MTG-Imager 1 in December 2022. The satellite’s imagers have a constant view of Africa, as well as Europe, and its data will be released for operational use soon. The organisation’s next-generation of polar-orbiting satellites, EUMESAT Polar System – Second Generation, will begin to be launched in 2025-26.

“EUMETSAT is a key partner of the African Union in projects aiming to strengthen Africa’s meteorological, environmental and climate services,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said. “We have provided African nations with data and capacity building support for more than two decades, within the framework of the European Union-Africa Partnership.

“This agreement will facilitate access to more of the precise, high-resolution data those data users in Africa need to help protect lives, infrastructure and livelihoods. The agreement recognises and supports Africa’s space, meteorological and climate strategies.”

“The memorandum of understanding represents another milestone in Africa-Europe cooperation. It is a renewed opportunity for Africa to explore EUMETSAT’s next generation infrastructure and tools for data harvesting and utilization. The agreement is timely and complements the Agenda 2063 and the African Space Policy and Strategy in deploying satellite data to address environmental and climate challenges. Such a mutual partnership is crucial for Africa’s drive to leverage its socio-economic transformation using space science and technology,” adds Professor Mohamed Belhocine, Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, African Union Commission.

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