Brandberg Mountain in Namibia (2008). © BRGM - Benjamin Le Bayon

PanAfGeo, a training programme for Africa on an unprecedented scale

09.04.2017
PanAfGeo, a joint BRGM - EU programme signed in December 2016, will be training 1200 geologists from 54 African countries over 3 years. Involving a consortium of 12 European geological survey organisations coordinated by the BRGM, this Pan-African programme is unprecedented in its scale and ambition.

logo of PanAfGeo

PanAfGeo, the outcome of work conducted jointly by EuroGeoSurveys, the umbrella organisation for Europe's geological surveys, and its African counterpart, OAGS, is a 10.3 M€ project coordinated by the BRGM and receiving technical support from the Polish and Italian geological surveys (PGI and ISPRA).

The programme was developed in response to concerns expressed by African nations in the "Africa Mining Vision" adopted in 2009, and by the European Union on securing mineral supplies through strengthened cooperation with Africa, as formalised in the "Common EU-Africa Strategy 2014-2017”.

"Africa has some of the world's largest mineral potential", explains Nicolas Charles, the PanAfGeo project manager, "but much of it is still unknown and unused. Better knowledge of Africa's geology and the introduction of legal, administrative and organisational tools to ensure the sustainability of the mining sector are crucial issues that are closely linked to the need for strengthened scientific and technical competences among local players."

The first PanAfGeo training course on mineral resources

The first PanAfGeo training course, on mineral resources, was organised from 5 to 16 June 2017 in Windhoek in Namibia. The training was provided by the Finnish and Namibian geological survey organisations (GTK and GSN). © P. EILU (GTK)

Improving governance of the mining sector

Over 3 years (2017-2019), PanAfGeo will provide training for about 1200 geoscientists through 49 courses in English, Portuguese and French, to be organised in different parts of Africa to ensure the right balance in terms of geography and languages.

"These courses, both theoretical and in the field, will last from a few days to several weeks", says Nicholas Charles. "The aim is to provide access to high-level geological knowledge for pre-selected candidates."

The courses will cover eight topics : geological mapping, mineral resources and mine inventories, small-scale mining, environmental management, natural risks, the geological heritage, geoscientific data management and communication. Each course will be organised by one European geological survey in association with an African co-manager.

An enthusiastic response

The course programme and its organisational aspects were established in 2016. Several courses are already planned for 2017, starting with mineral resource inventories in Namibia in June. "This initial course, in English, was enthusiastically received by African geologists", says Nicholas Charles. "We received nearly 80 applications for 20 places and we are now considering a duplicate course, this time in French." Other courses are already planned on the mining environment (Dakar), geological mapping (Ethiopia), natural risks (South Africa) and geological heritage (Morocco).

"PanAfGeo is laying the foundations for long-term cooperation between African and European geoscientists", concludes Nicholas Charles, "and it is also a resounding acknowledgement of the BRGM's long-standing commitment to the African continent. Our work for PanAfGeo is benefiting greatly from the outstanding knowledge and experience accumulated during previous strategically important projects such as SIG Afrique or AEGOS, the Africa-Europe Georesources Observation System."

PanAfGeo trainees on a field trip to the Karibib marble quarry in Namibia

PanAfGeo trainees on a field trip to the Karibib marble quarry in Namibia. © P. EILU (GTK)

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