And it’s particularly useful for developing countries, according to a World Bank blog, since satellites can map physical, economic and social changes where reliable socio-economic and demographic data may not be consistently available.
By providing ready-to-use data for decision-makers in government and business, the programme could boost Africa’s earth observation industry by $500 million by 2024 while providing $900 million in annual gains in agricultural productivity. This includes water savings, improved crop yields, insurance benefits and reduced pesticide use.
Another $900 million could be saved through better regulation of gold mining – particularly by reducing environmental damage and tax evasion from illegal mining.
As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, ensuring earth observation data is widely available will help Africa monitor changes in people and the environment, while building resilience.
There are also “new opportunities for industry profitability and productivity in many sectors, such as land planning, agriculture and mineral exploration,” the Forum says.
Examples in the report include a trial in Salinas, California, where NASA has demonstrated that satellite images can reduce water used to grow lettuce and broccoli crops by up to 33%, relative to standard practice.
Digital Earth Africa uses openly accessible and freely available satellite observations to produce its “decision-ready” products.
To help bridge key social and economic inequalities, the Forum has called for more geospatial data to be integrated into business models and political decision-making. It is calling on governments, industry and entrepreneurs across Africa to drive this change.
The World Economic Forum was the first to draw the world’s attention to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the current period of unprecedented change driven by rapid technological advances. Policies, norms and regulations have not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation, creating a growing need to fill this gap.
The Forum established the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in 2017 to ensure that new and emerging technologies will help—not harm—humanity in the future. Headquartered in San Francisco, the network launched centres in China, India and Japan in 2018 and is rapidly establishing locally-run Affiliate Centres in many countries around the world.
Learn more about the groundbreaking work that the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network is doing to prepare us for the future.
Want to help us shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Contact us to find out how you can become a member or partner.
The increasing availability of satellite data is one of the “fundamental forces” shaping economic development, according to the World Bank, which provides financial and technical support to developing countries.
One of its projects involves using satellite data to help developing countries make progress on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These include ending poverty and hunger and combatting climate change in the run up to 2030.
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