Public-private partnership to open geodata access for African resource development

Geosoft is participating in a pilot project aimed at improving the availability, accessibility and usability of geoscientific data (geodata) to guide resource investment in the East African region. The pilot project, and launch of a geodata portal hosted by Uganda, will be conducted under the auspices of African Union Commission (AUC), and is a collaborative partnership between the British Geological Survey (BGS), Geosoft, IGS (International Geoscience Services), the Uganda Geological Survey and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

The regional pilot project is the outcome of a workshop A New Beginning: A collaborative partnering approach towards African Geodata held March 22-24 in Uganda, which sought innovative solutions to Africa’s geodata shortfalls and drew expert participants from member states and institutions across Africa, Britain and Canada. Workshop discussions centered on: data requirements, data management and technology innovation. A business case was presented for a public-private partnership (PPP) model and capacity building.

“It was very rewarding to share our insights on geodata with government and industry representatives at the workshop, and contribute to a positive outcome that supports fulfillment of Africa’s vision and potential for resource development,” said Tim Dobush, President and CEO of Geosoft. “Activation of Africa’s vast geodata resources, through multi-stakeholder collaboration, is key to unlocking its value for downstream economic and social benefit within the respective countries.”

Geosoft will collaborate with organizing committee members, including the BGS and IGS, to implement the Uganda geodata portal.

“We are very encouraged by this pilot initiative and the wide spectrum of geoscience data that will be made available,” said John Ludden, Executive Director of BGS. “Additionally, it will provide an opportunity to examine how the usage of geoscience data can support broader applications including environmental, infrastructure, and water management.”

“IGS was honoured to have been involved in developing the workshop agenda, and we’re pleased to be part of the committee implementing the pilot geodata project for Uganda,” said Dr Peter K. Zawada, Managing Director of IGS, “Public-private partnerships are a vitally important way of ensuring the availability and accessibility of geodata, and creating added value to that data, to attract inward investment in the mineral exploration sector for Africa. Exciting time lies ahead where geodata is used to create wealth and to improve the quality of life of Africa’s people.”

The workshop and pilot project are guided by the aspirations and principles of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and Agenda 2063, which recognizes geodata as an imperative for future development of Africa’s extractives, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism sectors.

The initiative will be based on a public-private partnership business model for the generation, management and ownership of geodata by participating countries and it is expected to be piloted in other African countries.

The picture shows the AUC Uganda workshop group.