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About this book

This book provides a detailed insight into how space and its applications are embedded, and can be further embedded, into African society in support of the SDGs, while taking into account the specific features, needs, and diversity of that society.
Contributions drawn from across the continent and further afield provide analyses of the particular social situations in a variety of different African countries and regions, and highlight areas where space applications support the SDGs, and where they can further do so. The chapters cover a wide array of relevant and timely topics including basic needs like water quality, education, and capacity building, as well as financial, security, and legal aspects, together with facets of space technologies and infrastructure in Africa. Embedding Space in African Society will be of great interest to students and professionals in sustainable development, governance, and space studies.

Table of Contents


Maximising the Use of Space Applications in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

The socio-economic challenges on the African continent are enormous and to tackle these challenges in a sustainable manner requires a systematic approach that cuts across a number of dimensions. There needs to be a stronger emphasis on transformative social and economic policies; whilst securing effective governance and democratic rule are preconditions for attaining regional stability, building confidence and reaching Africa’s aspirations. Global Agendas such as Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, if appropriately adopted, become the guiding lens for implementing the socio-economic imperatives of Africa. This expose briefly looks at the underlying context, both historical and current, and connects the African aspirations, as enshrined in the African Agenda 2063, with the Sustainable Development Goals, as reflected in the global Agenda 2030. Core to the optimal achievement of these Agendas is the need for context relevant data. A case is made for spatial data, packaged as space applications services and products, to inform evidence-based policy making and to track the implementation progress of these Agendas. This expose further motivates for an African space programme based on the recently approved African Space Policy and African Space Strategy but cautions that the governance framework for the African Union proposed African Space Agency must be appropriately configured to service the needs of the African user community.
Val Munsami

Passive to Active Space and the Role of Space Assets in Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was designed to promote better living conditions for Earth and its inhabitants through the implementation of several goals that drive technological innovation and developments; these goals are also geared towards inclusive solutions for the populace and environmental protection for the long term preservation of Earth. The focus of the UN 2030 Agenda is to ensure that both developed and emerging countries benefit from the goals unlike the Millennium Development Goals which focused on developing countries. One of the prominent and viable contributors to these goals is the availability and the use of various space assets launched to space and the supporting infrastructure located on Earth. As a cutting edge technology, space assets are poised to promote human and sustainable development through their strategic and vantage point in space and the potential they have to contribute to human development while helping to preserve the planet. Africa as a continent requires the instrument and strategies contained in the SDGs to move forward. Few countries in Africa have space heritage from early Space Age while many others are currently active in the space arena reaping the benefit of space and its contribution to various aspects of national developmental programs with regards to several SDG goals. This chapter discusses the role of space assets for Africa in achieving the UN 2030 Agenda with a bias towards poverty reduction, prosperity and partnership in the SDGs.
Samuel Anih

Sub-Saharan Africa: “Info-Agritech” a Potential Game Changer

The UN 2030 SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) identifies agriculture as one of the sectors unparalleled in terms of its potential to support human development whilst, simultaneously, supporting sustainable economic growth. By assisting farmers in developing countries to become as least as productive as their counterparts in the developed world, agricultural productivity can therefore be used as a key strategic socio-economic change agent. In Africa and in particular sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture has a significant socio-economic impact. This sector is on average the largest source of employment, but plagued by low productivity, it does not translate into an equal quantum of economic contribution. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular is well suited to benefit in this space, with a rapidly growing population, large under-utilised agricultural areas and low traditional agricultural productivity. Rapid simultaneous technological development in the so-called SMACT (BTC http://​www.​boston-technology.​com/​smact/​ accessed 5 July 2018) group in particular holds great promise to assist farmers in developing world. The idea of this essay is to explore how satellite technology can act as an enabler of “Info-Agritech”—(the application of information technology in agriculture)—in terms of the sub-Saharan Africa agricultural sector.
Christoffel Kotze

A Contribution to an Advisory Plan for Integrated Irrigation Water Management at Sidi Saad Dam System (Central Tunisia): From Research to Operational Support

In the agriculture sector, combining physically based soil water balance and simulation models with GIS (Geographic Information System) tools is of a considerable interest to manage the available water amount. Indeed, this combination can enhance water supply management, optimize agricultural catchments management and study impact of management intervention from small scale (plot) to a larger one, such as irrigated district and/or region. This work presents the case of Sidi Saad Dam System (central Tunisia). The main objectives were (1) to create a specific GIS data base for the four irrigated districts of the area (Sidi Mansour, Sidi Saad, Fjij and Touila) based on the characteristics of cultivated crops, soil types and used irrigation systems; (2) to assess spatial and temporal variation of soil water budget terms from plot and farm levels to irrigated district and regional scales; (3) to map results for different time steps. The achievement of these objectives was made possible using the WEAP-MABIA Model. Thus, daily Penman–Monteith reference evapotranspiration (ETo), effective precipitation (PE), crop water requirement (CWR), actual crop evapotranspiration (ETa) and irrigation water requirement (IWR) were estimated for the four irrigated districts using spatially distributed parameters on climate, crop, soil characteristics, irrigation system and basic irrigation management practice during the cropping season 2014/2015. The delivered information is maps of the Sidi Saad Dam System with its four irrigated districts and their related farms and plots; representing the current land use, the water consumption at farm level; the crop water requirement (CWR) and the irrigation water requirement (IWR) at a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly steps. Also and thanks to WEAP (Water Evaluation And Planning system) tool functionalities, these results can be displayed on Google Earth and shared between all water irrigation managers.
W. Abdallah, M. Allani, R. Mezzi, R. Jlassi, A. Romdhane, F. Faidi, Z. Daouthi, A. Amara, H. Selmi, A. Zouabi, K. Selmi, T. Ayoub, R. Béji, M. A. Trabelssi, F. Joumade-Mansouri, E. Chalghaf, F. Stoffner, M. E. Hamza, H. W. Müller, A. Sahli

Water Quality Information for Africa from Global Satellite Based Measurements: The Concept Behind the UNESCO World Water Quality Portal

Freshwater as one of the most relevant resources for life is facing increasing human made pressures. Suitable information about the status of the water quality in lakes and rivers is sparse, although required for environmental assessments and impact monitoring: There is a vast demand on actual data in many countries, where water policies and management decisions are based on scarce and unreliable information. Satellite data with newest data analytics technologies can already contribute to this today with regular mapping and monitoring in freshwater systems: Consistent information of valuable water quality products are derived for single applications in small lakes, covering extended river basins or the whole world, as provided by the UNESCO World Water Quality Portal. A number of examples from this first global water quality portal is discussed, addressing ecological and economic issues in Africa. At the conceptual level, UNESCO and EOMAP advocate the long-term consistency of the data of these new measurement capabilities: Both satellite sensing and data processing technologies are rapidly evolving. Hence, nowadays concepts should already ensure that the data products are globally intercomparable and in future, even if the accuracy of information products become better and better. This ensures that the sustainable development goals can be supported with meaningful, comparable indicators over time.
Thomas Heege, Karin Schenk, Marie-Luise Wilhelm

Space-Based Financial Services and Their Potential for Supporting Displaced Persons

This paper outlines a concept for a space-based financial services provider that could be developed in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region hosts large populations of displaced persons, which require significant resources and support from humanitarian and development organisations. In addition, many conflict-affected areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, including those that generate displaced persons, feature high numbers of unbanked people. Satellites have increased in number and capabilities due to notable advances in computing, manufacturing, and launch technologies. As such, spaced-based services, including financial services, are proving more affordable and accessible to more people than ever before in history. Coupled with the rising acceptance of cryptocurrencies, spaced-based financial services can be delivered to displaced persons to aid them in their transition from displacement to resettlement, allowing them to carry their assets with them pre, mid, and post-displacement. Humanitarian and development organisations, alongside bilateral and multilateral donors and traditional financial institutions, could prove as the initial supporters of such an initiative oriented toward achieving development results for such vulnerable populations. However, significant legal and compliance challenges, including adherence to anti-money laundering and know your customer banking best practices, pose important questions for the feasibility of a space-based financial services provider.
David Lindgren

The Importance of Internet Accessibility and Smart City in Sub-Sahara African Region Through Space Technology

This observation correlates the importance of Internet accessibility and the Smart City concept in Sub-Sahara African, through space technology. The Internet has foster innovation through peer-to-peer networking, providing ease to data communication networks, e.g. electronic mail, & E-education. It has become part of our daily utility with very high adoption rate. Europe for example has more than 85% of her household using the internet as at 2016, while that of Africa was around 21% (The Statistic Portal. Website: https://​www.​statista.​com/​topics/​3853/​internet-usage-in-europe/​). This disparity is mainly due to inadequate technological infrastructures. Smart city is built on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which most countries in Africa lacks. With robust internet connectivity, Africa can close the gap by tapping into the enormous resources provided by the internet, to support the smart city approach which can leapfrog Africa to the 21st century in terms of technology and Innovation. Space technology such as the OneWeb constellation of small satellites, will be launched to the Lower Earth Orbit, providing Global internet broadband services as early as 2019. Such access to the internet can provide solutions to the Smart City concept in Africa as well as supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Tivere Hugbo

Aerospace Research in African Higher Education

In recent years, some African countries have tried to highlight and exploit the potential of Space Sciences. But many countries on the African continent have far greater problems than investing in a very cost-intensive future technology: population growth, insecurity and conflicts, insufficient infrastructure etc.. However, with enthusiasm for outer space, interest in science, mathematics and technology is also on the rise. From this point of view sound school education, the creation of training paths in aerospace technology, study programs on aerospace science and research collaboration in this area are important components of sustainable development. Aspects that stand out are 1. Why Africa must invest in space research, 2. Some African countries already recognize and appreciate the value of aerospace research. 3. Partnerships—South-South as well North-South are crucial for successful programs. A description of current trends in selected countries with space programs or recognizable efforts in aerospace research is summarized according to strategies, concepts and ideas leading in this direction.
Christine Müller

Towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: The African Space-Education Ecosystem for Sustainability and the Role of Educational Technologies

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encapsulate the collective desire of the world to eliminate the worst miseries of poverty and to set itself on a sustainable growth path. This chapter considers the origin of sustainable development in global discourse, and unpacks its education-related goals and targets. The specific focus is placed on tertiary education and it is argued that the SDGs depend on both regional and national strategies to succeed. Related questions of educational quality, and the role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), are considered. The progress of the education-related SDGs is investigated, especially in relation to Internet and mobile phone penetration in Africa, and tertiary enrolment rates. ICTs, and specifically e-learning, are discussed as a means of helping the challenges related to the massification of the tertiary education sector in Africa. The way in which space supports education is considered as only one pillar of what in reality is an interrelated symbiotic relationship, which feeds back into producing space-related skills to advance the African space sector. Recommendations in light of space, education, and sustainable e-learning are discussed, and the importance of recognising the value of space in achieving the SDGs is emphasised.
André Siebrits, Valentino van de Heyde

The Possible Beneficial Effect of Using Small Satellite Technology to Promote the Achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Poverty Reduction Specifically on the African Continent

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are hard to achieve, especially so for African states. However, the African continent is brimming with potential given its arable land, vast mineral deposits, and demographic dividend in the form of a generally young population. The current developmental status of the continent, while lagging in comparison with many other developing continents and regions, presents an opportunity to implement the most advanced and contemporary technologies for developmental purposes due to the lack of legacy technologies that need to be replaced. This study explores the proposition by investigating the possible achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Goal 1, namely the eradication of poverty, by making use of small satellites within swarm configurations. The investigation is performed by making use of systems theory and reframes the question by investigating the possible effect that the techno-sphere dimension of small satellite technology could possibly have on the African continent’s poverty problem given the fact that the continent and its constituent parts form a complex system.
Anton de Waal Alberts

United Nations Fellowship Program “Drop Tower Experiment Series” (DropTES)—Hands-on Experience in Microgravity Research

In order to foster the technical and management skills of young students from different educational institutions, it is essential to provide them with as many hands-on experiences as possible. These tasks include, among others, creating technical drawings, programming, developing and performing experiments, and acquiring project management skills. Such practical training is not only important for the students’ professional career, but also in their day-to-day life. This chapter introduces the United Nations Fellowship Program “Drop Tower Experiment Series” (DropTES). DropTES forms part of the Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI) of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). The Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen, Germany hosts the fellowship program on behalf of UNOOSA with the support of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration. Together all three institutions bring this annual fellowship program to life, opening it to student teams from research entities located in Member States of the United Nations. The DropTES Fellowship Program invites heads of research institutions or groups, university professors and postdoctoral researchers to promote the program amongst their respective students. The selected student team gets to conduct their own scientific or technological experiment under short-term conditions of weightlessness at the Bremen Drop Tower, ZARM’s microgravity research facility. Each research team can consist of up to four Bachelor, Master and/or Ph.D. students, who must be endorsed by their academic supervisor (team leader–Prof./Ph.D.). Each year, the announcement of opportunity for DropTES is posted between September of the current year until the end of January of the following year on the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) website. Completed application forms are accepted by UNOOSA within this time-frame. The drop tower experiment series for the selected research team is scheduled each November and consists of four sponsored drops or catapult launches during one week at the Bremen Drop Tower. Each experiment series is accompanied by an on-site experiment integration, which takes place one week prior to the series week. During the entire experiment preparation and realization phase, the student team is technically assisted by experts from ZARM. A travel subsidy and on-site accommodation are guaranteed for the entire research team. The DropTES Fellowship Program is designed to contribute to the global promotion of space education and microgravity research, particularly to enhance relevant capacity-building activities in developing countries. All information required to participate in DropTES can be found on the fellowship program website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (DropTES—Website—http://​www.​unoosa.​org/​oosa/​en/​ourwork/​psa/​hsti/​capacity-building/​droptes.​html). Currently, applications for the sixth cycle of DropTES (2018–2019) are open for submission. The following sections will provide an overview of all the DropTES cycles between 2013 and 2018 along with a description of the main characteristics of the Bremen Drop Tower.
Thorben Könemann

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the United Nations 2030 SDG Goals

Since years, space activities, inter alia the ones of the European Space Agency (ESA) are an important tool serving development. In the frame of the corporate “Space for Earth” initiative aiming at presenting the ESA projects, services, applications or technologies along thematic or regional approaches facing similar challenges, specific emphasis has been put since 2016 on sustainable development as one of the main challenges faced on Earth. The UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in September 2015 are benefiting and can benefit much more from space tools, either for the monitoring of goals or for the support to the achievement of goals. In order to ease the identification of the relevant activities by potential users, ESA developed a catalogue listing its projects that can support one or more of the goals. The first on-line version is available since 15 March 2018. It will be regularly expanded with new ESA activities and activities from ESA partners. Discussions with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) in the frame of the preparation of UNISPACE+50 led to the signature of a Joint Statement for further cooperation declaring inter alia the intent of the two Organisations to do a joint development of the ESA Catalogue and the OOSA Compendium. Further to the request of several ESA Member States, Africa has been agreed as a regional area for implementation of the support to the SDGs. In particular, the catalogue will be used to identify the existing space activities relevant for Africa (already done in Africa or that can be implemented also in Africa). The next steps of this initiative will include the expansion of the catalogue and the identification of “users” that could benefit from “space”, the inclusion of information concerning socio-economic benefits of the space activities, and the extension of the catalogue to the activities of other entities than ESA.
Isabelle Duvaux-Béchon

One Health and Space Technology—Application of Open Community Approach

“‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.” (World Health Organization (2017). One Health, http://​www.​who.​int/​features/​qa/​one-health/​en/​, retreived 17 July 2018). One health and space technology are linked in terms of satellite navigation, remote sensing and satellite communication. Global navigation systems allow users to detect their current geolocation. The geolocation can be used to provide tailored information to the user via mobile devices. Satellite communication can be used among others for tele-health applications and health service delivery in remote areas. Open Educational Resources (OER) and educational justice contribute to capacity building. These OER can be tailored to the current geolocation of a user and to the profile of e.g. staff members and health services providers, especially in rural areas.
Jörg Rapp, Melanie Platz, Engelbert Niehaus

Security in Africa: A Perception of Ongoing Developments

Discussing security is a complex endeavor as there is no agreed definition. Dividing it in a narrow and broader perspective may help to analyze violent conflicts and the reactions to it as well as long-term programmes for a less violent future. Instruments and organizational structures vary over time as a reaction to the different challenges. These dynamic developments and interest driven engagement are a reflection of the narrow perspective. The broader perspective with its long-term focus on human security may have a weaker short-term impact, but reduce violent conflict on the long run. International organizations and states perform different tasks in providing security in specific situations.
Gerald Hainzl

Space Applications Supporting Justice

Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals promotes “just, peaceful and inclusive societies”. This presupposes fair and equal judgements of justice. However, judgements can only be objective if they are based on correct information. Satellite data may assist in this regard, especially in regard to territorial conflicts, as is the case for wide areas such as on the Africa continent. In addition, the International Court of Justice has also accepted satellite data in other cases, for example to prove the installation of weapons, to monitor the equitable implementation of its judgments or to prove the location of settlements of local populations. More recently, satellite data have also become known in other fields, such as the detection or proof of the violation of human rights.
Annette Froehlich
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