Wider Economic Benefits from Satellite Earth Observation in Developing Countries

Authored by London Economics and Caribou Space.

This report has been commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) under its Global Development Assistance (GDA) programme. GDA has a mission to accelerate impact by fully capitalising on the power of satellite Earth Observation (EO) in international development assistance operations.

The GDA programme is implemented by ESA in partnership with the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB)—under the Space for International Development Assistance (Space for IDA) cooperation framework.

It is published as part of the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and Impact Assessment activity led by Caribou Space with consortium members London Economics and Imperative Space. This report will strengthen the evidence that EO activities generate wider benefits for developing countries, in terms of innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation, in addition to the direct benefits to users of these applications that are already well evidenced. These benefits should be considered by IFIs, National Development Agencies (NDA), and the broader development community during the planning, design, and execution of EO projects in developing countries.

GDA is building on a long history of ESA addressing sustainable development issues with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) which started in 2008, raising awareness among IFIs and stakeholders in developing countries about the potential of EO in addressing key development challenges. More recently the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative facilitated significant increase of development practitioners’ acceptance of using EO services. GDA is now capitalising on lessons learnt and the success of EO4SD, embarking on the path to full adoption of EO in global development. An initial set of eight thematic areas (up to 12 in the future) have been identified as priority engagement areas.