Research and Capacity Building for Water Resource Management in Africa - The TIGER Capacity Building Facility
Vekerdy, Zoltán1; Menenti, Massimo2; Silva, Joel3; Painho, Marco3; Jacobs, Tim4; Su, Zhongbo1; Koetz, Benjamin5
1Faculty of Geo-Information and Earth Observation, University of Twente, NETHERLANDS; 2Technical University Delft, NETHERLANDS; 3New University of Lisabon, PORTUGAL; 4VITO, BELGIUM; 5ESA, ITALY

Some parts of Africa looks extremely rich, others extremely poor in water. Understanding the processes leading to these extremes nowadays is not possible without earth observation data. The TIGER Capacity Building Facility (TCBF) aims at supporting the research actions of the TIGER initiative, a contribution by ESA to the GEO objectives.

In its recent (2nd) phase, TCBF focuses on African research projects carried out by African scientists and provide support in developing their scientific skills. We do not have to start from scratch. In most of the projects, strong existing scientific and technical capacity form the basis, and some extra effort is needed to achieve the best use of EO technology in work related to water resources in Africa. A special interest is in the potential impacts of climate change to establish sound scientific bases for developing effective adaptation or mitigation measures at political level in the continent.

There is a large variety of participating research and water management institutions, from universities to regional water authorities. Several projects address trans-boundary issues with multinational staff. Besides capacity building, these activities contribute to building a community that unites the users of earth observation technology for water applications around the continent. The TCBF is provided by a consortium, which organizes a wide range of capacity building actions: tailored training, research supervision, short courses in different African countries, distance education, etc. Several events have been organized all around Africa in the last five years, and regional centres were appointed in Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and South Africa. More than 200 individuals participated in the actions from all around the continent.

The research projects, supported by these efforts use mostly ESA, but also third-party data and mostly European remote sensing tools. Data flow via DDS reached parts of Africa, where other data access is limited by communication bottlenecks.

There is a new element related to their activities, the Alcantara fellowship programme, which provide research possibilities to top young African scientists for carrying out research in leading European Institutions.

The presentation provides an overview of the capacity building results and gives highlights of the research projects.