[caption id="attachment_6116" align="alignleft" width="264"] Sentinel-2 imagery of Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique[/caption] African nations can now access high-resolution satellite images in the Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) platform that will enable countries to monitor changes that relate to people and the environment due

The current COVID-19 crisis facing the world, and the measures taken by governments to lockdown its citizens, means we are more reliant on Government to inform and direct the population in order to protect and sustain them. This has created the need for innovativeness in the use of technologies to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure the health and safety of its citizens. In South Africa, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has rallied the local Earth Observation (EO) industry to evaluate the needs of Government and citizens whilst attempting to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in the country. SANSA is engaging with representatives of many local EO industry players to establish what is currently being done by these players and to leverage these competencies to address any gaps that may exist in comprehensively responding to the current crisis. The intention of such an engagement is to identify how SANSA could provide effective leadership by partnering with industry on any existing EO products and to offer support/funding to industry to fast track further development of products into usable support tools by government.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been described as the greatest challenge that the world has faced since the second world war. Its impact, in terms of both loss of life and reduced economic growth, has been devastating. South Africa, although at an early stage of the pandemic, is entering uncharted territory with increasing rates of infection. A key factor in the fight against the pandemic is the rapid availability of appropriate information in the hands of key decision makers. [caption id="attachment_5718" align="alignleft" width="504"] Gauteng informal settlements[/caption] The South African National Space Agency (SANSA), through its twin mandates to acquire, disseminate and distribute space based data and information for decision making, as well as coordinating the South African Space Sector, is aligning itself and the South African Space Sector’s capabilities and capacities towards the fight against COVID -19. The objective is to provide decision makers with relevant space derived spatial information and tools to support evidence based decision making in their efforts at implementing a national response to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.