The African Union Commission signed Cooperation arrangement in the area of data access and use of Sentinel data of the Copernicus programme

The African Union Commission signed a cooperation arrangement with the European Commission in the area of Earth Observation data access from the Sentinel Satellites of the Copernicus on 12 June 2018, in Brussels, Belgium at the premises of the European Commission Directorate- General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROWTH).  

Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo, Director of the Human Resources, Science and Technology signed on behalf of the African Union Commission and Mr. Philippe Brunet, Director of Directorate I, Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, on behalf of the European Commission. 

Signing ceremony of cooperation arrangement between the AUC and EC

The cooperation arrangement will enable African Earth Observation data users to access to Sentinel Satellites data using high bandwidth terrestrial network connections from data hub to data hub so as to foster the exchange of Earth Observation data between Europe and Africa. This will help users to monitor their environment, crops, water bodies and coastal ecosystems among others.

The European Commission and the African Union Commission are pursuing Earth observation activities in a number of areas of common interest and cooperate in the framework of the GMES and Africa partnership. They consider that sharing satellite data and information, including from African Earth observation satellites, will provide mutual benefits once interoperability and integrity are ascertained. 

Both sides recognise the leading role of the African Union Commission in serving as the official central contact point to facilitate Sentinel data access and use in Africa. The African Union Commission coordinates efforts to support African users' access to and use of Earth observation data and information.

The GMES and Africa Support Programme is a 30 million Euro joint programme co-financed by the European Commission and the African Union Commission. The Programme uses and adapts the Copernicus Programme data and services to the African context.

23 Photos of  signing ceremony available here


  1. Congratulations, this is very good step forward for the implementation of GMES and Africa.

  2. Congratulations to GMES & Africa, this will have a significant positive impact on the continental development. Keep it up !!!!!

  3. Congratulations to Dr Ouedraogo and the GMES team for this important step on EO data access for Africa community. This will contribute highly to sustain our EO services for Africa development.

  4. Sentinel data are already available to users worldwide via Internet using the Sentinel Data Hub, Google Earth Engine and other systems. Can someone explain the benefits of this special arrangement to provide African users with access to Sentinel data?

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    3. Dear Mike, thank you for your inquiry. The points listed below, describe the benefits of this special arrangement:
      • This agreement is forward looking, considering not only the current but future scenarios.
      • The Agreement is obliging European institutions such as ESA, EUMETSAT and JRC to provide technical support to African institutions to access Sentinel data. That is not currently the case.
      • The Agreement will secure access to more than 72 African institutions (under GMES & Africa) to get access to Sentinel data free of charge and with technical support from ESA, EUMETSAT and JRC. But each institution will enter in technical arrangement with ESA or EUMETSAT to get access to the Sentinel data.
      • Africa has 55 countries and the European Commission could not afford signing agreement with each of the African countries. It could be very lengthy and very expensive. Hence, AUC coordination through this agreement is simplifying the process for all African countries, reducing the partnership cost to almost zero and will avoid duplication, reduce redundancy and optimise resources allocated to the access to Sentinel data.
      • The Agreement will help African institutions to get access to Sentinel data through existing ground data receiving stations (EUMETCast, etc.) but also through the new European access channels such as hub-to-hub and DIAS.
      • Through this agreement, operators intend to provide for a simple and un-bureaucratic user registration process while accessing datasets
      • Both sides are optimistic to provision of high quality data. And African Union Commission will follow up and monitor with the European Commission on the progress made and the challenges to tackle or to fix if any.

  5. Bravo pour cette signature ! C'est un nouveau jalon dans la coopération entre les deux instances. Aux pays et à la région d'en faire bon usage et en tirer le maximum de bénéfice.

  6. Good to hear that, congratulations. As the regional hydrological advisor to the World Meteological Organization Regional Association One (RA1), I'd like to mention the important issues of the connection between Climate,Weather and water. I'm looking to see this point is reflected into GEMS program.


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