Esri, the global player in location intelligence, has announced a joint initiative on geographic information system (GIS) with AfroChampions, a Pan-African nonprofit that aims to promote policies that foster private-public collaboration for Africa’s economic transformation.
The goal of the initiative is to engage leaders in business, governments, the African Union, and other regional economic communities through dialogue and potential partnership building in applying geospatial technology and solutions.
This new partnership with AfroChampions seeks to contribute to sustainable economic development in Africa and promote the benefits of a shared geospatial infrastructure throughout the continent. As a majority of Africans still live in rural areas, geographic information system (GIS) technology can create new opportunities for growth, especially in critical fields such as health and telemedicine, land management, agriculture, and mobility.
The powerful mapping and data analytics that GIS provides forms a foundation for some of the most successful economic strategies that nations pursue today. This initiative will offer African governments and other organizations streamlined access to Esri’s world-leading GIS technology and expertise, in addition to a broad network of regional partners.
“Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related crises, African leaders must fast-track the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA], which is our own recovery plan,” said Dr. Edem Adzogenu, executive director of AfroChampions. “However, we need technologies, such as geospatial solutions, to operationalize the AfCFTA.”
Over the long term, Esri’s solutions will advance projects retained as part of AfroChampions Trillion Dollar Investment Framework, a 360-degree road map officially endorsed by the African Union and in which core enablers of the AfCFTA are transportation and connectivity; the removal of nontariff barriers; low-cost power; and enhanced value and industrialization in a modernized digital economy.
“At a time of economic uncertainty, we consider it part of our company’s mission to coordinate and collaborate with partners like AfroChampions for initiatives that promote sustainable global development,” said Sohail Elabd, general manager of Esri Middle East and Africa. “With the help of a network of action-oriented business and political leaders spreading across the entire continent, these initiatives can be instrumental in advancing the use of geospatial solutions for the public good around the world, from healthcare coverage to infrastructure support.”
This partnership is part of Esri’s ongoing commitment to its users and the broader geospatial community across Africa. It is closely aligned with key continental initiatives such as AfCFTA; the African Development Bank Strategy for 2013–2022; the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and the African Union Agenda 2063, which emphasizes the need for global Geospatial Information for Sustainable Development (GI4SD) management.
“Esri’s support is timely,” continued Adzogenu. “It can help us in many practical ways, like compiling data, identifying best practices that can be replicated from one country to another, defining the right locations for strategic infrastructure projects, or launching cross-border renewable projects.”
Africa Geoportal, the continent’s existing geospatial community platform built by Esri, will support the AfroChampions’ virtual festival Boma of Africa as well as other ongoing community outreach activities.