What is the Africa Earth Observation Challenge?

The Africa Earth Observation (AEO) Challenge is an annual open innovation challenge aimed at sourcing novel space technologies since 2016. This challenge seeks to drive entrepreneurial activity in the African space industry and promote awareness of the value of earth observation data across the continent and in multiple sectors such as water and food security, mining, logistics, insurance, and many more.

Earth observation gathers information about the planet’s physical, chemical, and biological systems via remote-sensing technologies. This information can then be used to monitor changes in natural and artificial environments.

Why Now?

  • The African space-tech sector is one of the fastest-growing markets globally, but it is still significantly underexploited. This sector represents a massive investment opportunity.
  • The African Union has identified earth observation as a critical resource that must be leveraged in achieving Africa’s development goals.
  • One of the best ways to grow this sector is through an open innovation challenge.


  • To identify the most promising innovators, entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses across Africa and develop them into sustainable companies
  • To develop Africa’s geospatial readiness so that African businesses can service African demand for geospatial intelligence


1. Search process:

African innovators & entrepreneurs invited to submit novel business ideas.


Finalists enter 2-week business development support programme to take their companies to the next level.

3. Pitching den:

Participants pitch to a panel of judges and other industry players. Winners receive a range of prizes, from access to Maxar EOD packages and AWS credits, to online incubation and virtual mentorship with GEN Space, DEA and AWS.

4. Ongoing entrepreneur support:

All participants are empowered with ongoing support to build sustainable businesses.



What’s in it for the winners?

There are various prizes that will be up are for grabs for the Challenge finalists, including:

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Data Packages

Challenge finalists stand a chance to win Maxar Earth Observation Data packages worth up to $20,000

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AWS Credits

Up to $12,000 worth of Amazon Web Services Activate credits will be available to the Challenge finalists

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Incubation & Mentorship

4-month online incubation and virtual mentorship to the value of $24,000 from GEN Space, Digital Earth Africa & Amazon Web Services, including one-on-one mentorship from AWS’ Director of Chief Technologists, Tom Soderstrom

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GEO Week ’21 participation

Finalists will have the opportunity to participate in, grow their network and gain exposure at the 2021 Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Week and gain exposure

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Media publicity

Challenge finalists will have the opportunity to feature in interviews and editorials by Challenge Media Partner Space in Africa

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Technical Support

Technical support will be available to the Challenge participants from the leading EOD specialising organisations including SANSA, Maxar, Amazon Web Services and Digital Earth Africa

2021 Africa Earth Observation Challenge Final Pitching Den

11 November 2021,
18:00 CAT