It was a novelty at the AARSE 2016 International Conference in Kampala/ Uganda that one Plenary Session (Wed. 26 Oct 2016) was entirely devoted to the commercial sector. This was in recognition that the private sector in Earth Observation and Geospatial fields in Africa has come of age, as an important actor and a crucial stakeholder for furthering evidence-based decision making by African governmental authorities and societal entities – as elsewhere in the world.
Plenary Session 3 at AARSE 2016, 26 October (moderated by Elisabeth Zeil-Fahlbusch, AARSE EC Communication Officer) entailed two presentations, namely by Tsehaie Woldai (founder and Immediate Past President of AARSE) accounting the findings derived from a survey into the African private sector industry, conducted between February – May; and by Geoff Sawyer (Secretary General of the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies, EARSC) relating the development of the industry in Europe, and more specifically the experience of EARSC in getting companies associated in a trade body in order to better position the commercial sector as a major player. The presentation is accessible online
A major part of the session was devoted to a panel discussion with statements given by:
• Tidiane Ouattara (AUC-HRST, in charge of the GMES & Africa Program)
• Christophe Roeland (representing EC – DG Grow 1.3 – Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth) Jane Bemingisha (Director ESSIPS, Uganda)
• David Kirugara (Director ENSAFO Group, Kenya)
• Sias Mostert (Chairperson Aerospace Group, SCS, South Africa)
• Stefan Zaradeth (GAF AG, Germany)
• Christian Hoffman (Geoville, Austria)
• Julio López (Deimos Imaging, Spain).
Panelists were asked to give their perspectives on
• strategic issues arising from the survey
• suggestions made for supporting the private sector, as well as
• stronger exchange and collaboration between African and European companies.
This session was followed up by a Business to Business session in the afternoon to promote further discussions, networking and collaboration opportunities.