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The USGS has a long history of cooperative studies and research throughout Africa.

 Ongoing and recent activities include:

  • Land with earth, green, and white ice and snow cover in a blue globe view from space - Africa

    FEWS NET:  In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), other federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations, USGS provides expertise and training in satellite data acquisition, processing, and interpretation to provide 3-month advance projections of drought and flood-related food shortages. Focus areas are largely the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa, and Yemen.

  • Conflict Minerals: In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, USGS supports monitoring conflict minerals using high-temporal-resolution satellite imagery. 
  • Ethiopia and Kenya Groundwater: USGS scientists are helping Ethiopia and Kenya build local capacity to plan and conduct the hydrologic investigations and monitoring necessary to help ensure that groundwater resources are developed and managed efficiently and sustainably.
  • Malawi Land Use/Change: In cooperation with USAID, capacity building and scientific support for satellite-based mapping and monitoring of land resources and tree-based ecological systems underpinning agricultural production and land restoration.
  • Niger Groundwater: USGS scientists are helping Niger plan and conduct groundwater explorations.
  • Burkina-Faso-Niger Land Use/Change: In cooperation with USAID's Support to Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) program, USGS helps document decreasing grazing corridors, in Niger, with increasing cropland.
  • Mauritania Groundwater: USGS scientists combine various remotely sensed data with observed hydrologic and hydrogeologic, geophysical, geological, and socio-economic data to provide multi-faceted and optimized sustainable use scenarios for the groundwater resources.
  • Southern Africa Groundwater: USGS is providing expertise and training on modeling and visualization for transboundary groundwater resources.
  • Southern Africa Mineral Resources: USGS is evaluating critical mineral resources in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia.
  • Volcano Disaster Assistance: USGS is helping build volcano monitoring capacity in Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Color photograph of volcano scientists with volcano monitoring equipment
The National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) volcano monitoring team and collaborators with a seismic station installed in 2023. Also pictured is Dr. Christine Sealing (Fulbright Specialist, top row second from left) and Aaron Rinehart (USAID-USGS VDAP, bottom row second from right).

Completed activities:

  • West Africa Land Cover: In cooperation with USAID, USGS led a regional effort to understand and visualize the dynamics of land cover change in West Africa over four decades.
  • Botswana - Village Flood Watch: The Village Flood Watch project, which was completed in 2002, was designed to help establish an early-warning system for potential flooding events by adding or upgrading six gauging stations to near real-time capabilities and providing training on hydrologic runoff modeling. 
  • Cameroon: USGS personnel were part of a team working to mitigate the buildup of carbon dioxide in Lake Nyos.
  • Cape Verde: USGS helped evaluate groundwater availability and quality in watersheds on three islands (Fogo, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau), in cooperation with the Instituto Nacional de Gestão dos Recursos Hídricos (INGRH) and the Millennium Challenge Account. The study findings are being used by local water managers and the INGRH for future planning of sustainable groundwater development.
  • Horn of Africa: USGS constructed a generic template of a Water Supply Database to store water well construction details and other information to be used by the Host Nation Governments in the Horn of Africa. USGS also provided data for development of the Combined Joint Task Force--Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Water Resources Database for Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The water resource database stores geologic maps, hydrogeologic maps, topographic maps, satellite images, vegetation maps, weather maps, documents, and other relevant hydrogeological data in a format that can be easily retrieved by users.
  • Mali and Senegal: The USGS helped improve agricultural practices to increase the amount of carbon sequestered in soils.
  • Morocco: The USGS engaged in geological and geochemical mapping in several areas.
  • Mozambique: USGS provided assistance to Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) during the Implementation Planning for the Mozambique Compact proposal, focusing on issues related to surface and groundwater resources. The USGS served as a scientific advisor to MCC for review of scientific/technical documents and data related to surface and groundwater resources as developed by the Government of Mozambique and/or MCC and their respective consultants/contractors.
  • South Africa: USGS maintained a seismometer as part of the Global Seismic Network.
  • Southern Africa: USGS provided current and historic remote sensing datasets to evaluate the effects of recent flooding in southern Africa (principally in Mozambique) and to mitigate future flooding. Effort has also been focused on developing a flood early warning system in southern Africa.
  • Sudan: Water supply is lacking in most of the Horn of Africa. A water exploration project in the Darfur region conducted in 2006 and 2007 used innovative radar technology combined with other optical remote sensing technique and additional ancillary data to improve the potential for finding water supply in this drought and famine stricken area. The overall objective of this program was to improve support to decision-making for humanitarian assistance programs at USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, local governments, and national and international non-governmental organizations.
  • West Africa: USGS worked with several West African countries to monitor desertification and land use changes.


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