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Published: 24 July 2020

Ken Mubea

This month we welcomed Dr. Kenneth Mubea to the Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) Establishment team who joins as secondment from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD). Kenneth is our User Engagement Manager based in Kenya and brings a wealth of knowledge in Earth observation (EO). He shares his experience in the field, the challenges he faces and the impact he sees DE Africa having on the continent.

The role of a User Engagement Manager

As User Engagement Manager, Kenneth will play a key role in the transition of the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC) to DE Africa inclusive of both technical support and user engagement and support. He will help to drive usage of DE Africa data and services, and engage with our network of partners across Africa. Previously, Kenneth was the GIS Technical Manager for GPSDD, United Nations Foundation and was instrumental in supporting the ARDC in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Kenneth will bring his experience in capacity building, development of use cases and use of EO for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from his role to DE Africa. His vast work experience in EO spans working with international institutions such as SERVIR (NASA – USAID initiative), Esri and Google, and he is well equipped to support access and use of DE Africa for improved analysis and decision making across the continent.

Overcoming barriers and challenges

The implementation of Data Cubes such as DE Africa is relatively new in Africa with some challenges envisaged such as low internet connectivity in some cities and relatively few data scientists and GIS experts being able to communicate their results with policy makers.
Kenneth is looking forward to overcoming this challenge as part of the DE Africa program and help connect with many users across the continent ranging from government, academia and Civil society organizations (CSOs). His aim is to leave no one behind on EO for sustainable development and sustainable development goals (SDGs). He sees that the co-development of use cases with users is the key to institutional buy-in in the implementation of DEA, which offers continental and regional products important for engagement with policy makers.  

The future of Earth observation in Africa

Kenneth sees that a time has come that EO will be the critical means for decision making for countries and regional bodies in Africa towards the sustainable management of resources. This means that DE Africa will help countries manage various sectors of the economy such as agriculture and food security, water, urbanisation, coastal ecosystems, forest and land degradation. Ultimately, DE Africa will help drive the continent towards the attainment of the Pan African Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa as outlined by the Africa Union Commission, The Africa we want.