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Region Results: Africa

Detailed results on the deep-sea capacity of 44 African geographical areas, including indices for subregional comparisons.

Published onSep 12, 2022
Region Results: Africa
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1. Region Overview

There are five subregions in Africa: Northern Africa, Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa (Figure 1). These subregions encompass 68 geographical areas (GeoAreas), of which 54 are sovereign countries and 14 are dependent territories (Figure 2A; Africa GeoAreas)[1]. One GeoArea in Africa is high income (2%), seven are upper-middle income (10%), 23 are lower-middle income (34%), 23 are low income (34%), and 14 are not economically classified (21%) (Figure 2B; Africa Income Groups)[2]. Six GeoAreas in Africa are Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Cabo Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, and Seychelles (Africa GeoAreas)[1].

Figure 1

Africa Subregions
Map of Africa showing the five subregions used in the 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment: Northern Africa, Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa. Light yellow indicates the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Africa. [1][3][4][5]


This assessment includes information about the technical and human capacity of 44 GeoAreas in Africa. For 33 GeoAreas, we have both survey and research data; for 11 GeoAreas, we have only research data (Figure 2C; Africa Data Sources). We did not collect research data on the remaining 24 GeoAreas because they are landlocked countries or uninhabited or temporarily inhabited territories.

Figure 2

GeoArea Information
(A) Number of sovereign countries (blue) and dependent territories (orange) in each subregion of Africa. (B) Number of high income (blue), upper middle income (orange), lower middle income (yellow), low income (teal), and not classified (grey) GeoAreas in each subregion of Africa. (C) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with survey and research data (blue), research data only (yellow), and no data (grey) used in this assessment for each subregion. [1][2]


Fifty-two, or 77% of the GeoAreas in Africa, claim marine Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), covering a total area of 17,507,000 km2 (Figure 3; Africa EEZs)[3][4][5]. Of those, all GeoAreas have deep ocean in their EEZs (200+ m), encompassing an area of approximately 16,089,000 km2, or 92% of the total EEZ area within the jurisdiction of African GeoAreas. 

Figure 3

Exclusive Economic Zones
(A) Number of GeoAreas with >1% deep ocean within their EEZ (blue) and no EEZ (yellow). (B) Area of each depth zone for all EEZs claimed in each subregion of Africa. (C) Area of EEZs in Africa by oceanographic depth zone. [3][4][5]


Eastern Africa has the largest number of GeoAreas with deep ocean in their EEZs and the largest area of deep ocean within their EEZs. South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Cabo Verde have the largest deep-ocean areas within their EEZs in Africa. 

The largest depth zone by area lies 2,000-4,000 meters below sea level (mbsl), covering 46% of all African EEZs, followed by 4,000-6,000 mbsl (31% of all EEZs in the region) (Figure 3). The largest depth zone in Northern, Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa is between 2,000-4,000 mbsl. In Middle Africa, the largest depth zone by area is 4,000-6,000 mbsl.

RESEARCHER PERSPECTIVE
"In-country skills need to be prioritized and funded, and African countries must incorporate deep-sea research projects in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner. The assessment of deep-sea capacity in Africa is already a crucial step since it can help promote equitable opportunities for African countries to explore and manage their deep-sea ecosystem." --Otmane Sarti, University of Abdelmalek Essaadi, Tangier, Morocco


2. Survey Responses & Demographics

2.1 Geographic & Demographic Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their geographic and demographic representation: which GeoArea they represent, in what GeoArea they live, their gender identification, and their age group.

Which GeoArea would you like to represent for this survey? (Q1)
We received 101 complete surveys representing 33 GeoAreas in Africa for the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment Survey (Figure 4). Twenty-four responses were for Northern Africa, 21 for Western Africa, 13 for Middle Africa, 35 for Eastern Africa, and 8 for Southern Africa. We received only one survey response for each of twelve GeoAreas. We received the most survey responses for Morocco (9), Somalia (9), and Benin (7). Most respondents lived in the GeoArea they represented (88%).

Figure 4

Respondent Geographic Representation
GeoAreas in Africa with one survey response (A), 2-3 survey responses (B), and 4-9 survey responses (C). [3][4][5]

Figure 5

Respondent Demographic Representation
(A)
Gender identity of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa. (B) Number of survey respondents by age group for each subregion of Africa.

As what gender do you identify? (Q41)
Seventy of the respondents for Africa were male (69%), while 29 were female (29%), and two preferred not to answer (2%) (Figure 5A). 

What is your age? (Q39)
Overall, Africa had the most representation from respondents in the 25-34 yr age group (38%), followed by the 35-44 yr, 45-54 yr and 55-64 yr age groups (27%, 19%, 12%) (Figure 5B). The fewest responses were from the 18-24 yr and 65+ yr age groups (2%, 3%).

2.2 Professional Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their professional representation: what is their highest level of education completed, in what organizational sector do they work, what are their primary roles, and in what marine environments do they work.

What is the highest degree or education level you have completed? (Q42)
The majority of respondents for Africa held advanced degrees: 42 had a doctorate (42%), and 28 had a master's degree (28%). Fifteen held a bachelor's degree (15%), and 16 had completed some graduate school, high school, or other education (16%) (Figure 6A).

What is the organizational sector of your affiliation? (Q43)
Most respondents for Africa work in government (40%) or academia (37%). Smaller percentages of respondents work for non-governmental organizations (5%), not-for-profit organizations (4%), or other sectors (15%) (Figure 6B).

Figure 6

Respondent Professional Representation
(A)
Completed education level of respondents for each subregion of Africa. (B) Organizational sector of respondents for each subregion: academia (Acad), government (Gov), not-for-profit (NFP), non-governmental organization (NGO), or other. (C) Number of respondents who identified with up to three roles that they represent in their communities: science/research (Sci), education/outreach (Edu), conservation/advocacy (Cons), management/policy/law (Mgt), student/early career researcher (ECR), engineering/technology (Eng), developing nation/community (Dev), aquatics/recreation (Aqua), traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Government (Gov), or other.


What are the primary roles you represent in your GeoArea? (Q5)
Respondents were asked to select up to three primary roles they represented in their communities from a list of the following options: science/research, education/outreach, policy/law/management/government, developing nation/community, engineering/technology, traditional knowledge, aquatics/recreation, industry/investment, philanthropy, student/early career, conservation/advocacy they were also allowed to enter free-text if a role of theirs was not an option.

Eighty-three respondents considered themselves scientists or researchers (82%), 33 worked in education and outreach (33%), and 30 in conservation (30%). Twenty-two were students or early career researchers (22%). Fewer respondents represented engineering/technology, developing nations/communities, aquatics or recreation, traditional ecological knowledge, and other roles (Figure 6C).

If you carry out field research, in what marine environment(s) do you work? (Q6)
Respondents were asked to select all marine environments in which they do field work from a list of the following options: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf, deepwater, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine environment in which they work was not an option.

Figure 7

Respondent Field Research Environments
Number of respondents who work in each marine environment, by subregion of Africa: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf (Shelf), deep ocean (Deep), other areas (Other), or none of the above (None).

The largest fraction of respondents worked in the inshore and nearshore environments (64% each) (Figure 7). 

More than a quarter of the respondents for Africa worked in the deep-sea environment (27%). Southern Africa had the largest fraction of respondents who worked in deep water (75%), followed by Northern Africa (38%) and Eastern Africa (20%). Seventy-five respondents (76%) selected more than one field environment. Eight respondents (8%) worked in other environments or did not conduct fieldwork. 

3. Issues, Challenges, & Opportunities

3.1 Highlights

  • Issues | Fisheries & aquaculture, conservation & protection, and offshore oil & gas were the three most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for Africa.

  • Challenges | Funding, human capacity, and access to vessels were the three most important challenges identified by respondents for Africa.

  • Opportunities | Training opportunities, more precise data collection technology, better data tools, and deeper technology were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for Africa.

3.2 Deep-Sea Issues

What are the three most important deep-sea issues in your GeoArea? (Q3)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea issues that they considered most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: basic science & exploration, fisheries & aquaculture, seabed mining, conservation & protection, maritime archaeology & history, offshore oil & gas, renewable energy, safety & security, telecommunications, and climate change; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an issue was not an option.

Fisheries & aquaculture (23%), conservation & protection (17%), and offshore oil & gas (17%) were the three most important issues across Africa (Table 1).

Table 1

Subregion of Africa

Most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for Africa

Northern Africa

Fisheries & aquaculture (24%)
Basic science & exploration (21%)
Conservation & protection (17%)

Western Africa

Fisheries & aquaculture (26%)
Climate change (20%)
Conservation & protection (15%)

Middle Africa

Offshore oil & gas (24%)
Climate change (24%)
Basic science & exploration (19%)

Eastern Africa

Fisheries & aquaculture (23%)
Conservation & protection (21%)
Offshore oil & gas (15%)

Southern Africa

Offshore oil & gas (25%)
Fisheries & aquaculture (21%)
Seabed mining (21%)

In Northern Africa, fisheries & aquaculture was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by basic science & exploration and conservation & protection. In Western Africa, fisheries & aquaculture was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by climate change and conservation & protection. In Middle Africa, offshore oil & gas and climate change were considered the most important deep-sea issues, followed by basic science & exploration. In Eastern Africa, fisheries & aquaculture was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by conservation & protection and offshore oil & gas. In Southern Africa, offshore oil & gas was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by fisheries & aquaculture, and seabed mining.

3.3 Deep-Sea Challenges

What are the top three challenges to deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q33)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea exploration and research challenges that they consider most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: funding, access to vessels, access to deep submergence vehicles, access to deep-sea sensors, access to data tools, scalability of technologies, human capacity/knowledge to do deep-sea research, lack of connections with other deep-sea researchers; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a challenge was not an option.

Funding (23%), human capacity (20%), and access to vessels (16%) were the three most important challenges in Africa (Table 2).

Table 2

Subregion of Africa

Most important deep-sea challenges identified by respondents for Africa

Northern Africa

Funding (24%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (20%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (14%)

Western Africa

Funding (22%)
Access to vessels (18%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (17%)

Middle Africa

Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (28%)
Funding (23%)
Access to vessels (15%)

Eastern Africa

Funding (24%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (21%)
Access to vessels (19%)

Southern Africa

Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (21%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (21%)
Funding (17%)
Access to vessels (17%)

In Northern Africa, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to deep submergence vehicles and human capacity. In Western Africa, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to vessels and human capacity. In Middle Africa, human capacity was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by funding and access to vessels. In Eastern Africa, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by human capacity and access to vessels. In Southern Africa, human capacity and access to deep submergence vehicles were considered the most important challenges to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by funding and access to vessels.

3.4 Deep-Sea Opportunities

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years for deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q34)
Respondents were asked to select up to three opportunities in the next 5-10 years that they were most excited about for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: technology that can go deeper, less expensive data collection technologies, better/more precise data collection technologies, scalable platforms & sensors, better data access and analysis tools, training opportunities, and networking/connecting with others; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an opportunity was not an option.

Training opportunities (21%), more precise data collection technology (14%), and better data tools and deeper technology (14% each) were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for Africa (Table 3). Training opportunities were the most frequently selected opportunity for every subregion of Africa.

Table 3

Subregion of Africa

Most exciting opportunities identified by respondents for Africa

Northern Africa

Training opportunities (20%)
Technology that can go deeper (15%)
More precise data collection technology (14%)

Western Africa

Training opportunities (20%)
Less expensive data collection technology (15%)
More precise data collection technology (15%)
Better data tools (15%)

Middle Africa

Training opportunities (19%)
Connecting with others (16%)
More precise data collection technology (15%)

Eastern Africa

Training opportunities (20%)
Technology that can go deeper (18%)
Better data tools (15%)

Southern Africa

Training opportunities (29%)
Technology that can go deeper (18%)
Less expensive data collection technology (14%)
More precise data collection technology (14%)

In Northern Africa, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, followed by deeper technology and more precise data collection technology. In Western Africa, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, less expensive data collection technology, more precise data collection technology, and better data tools. In Middle Africa, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, followed by connecting with others, and more precise data collection technology. In Eastern Africa, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, followed by deeper technology and better data tools. In Southern Africa, respondents were most excited about training opportunities, followed by deeper technology, less expensive data collection technology, and more precise data collection technology.

“This kind of instrumentation became increasingly important to investigate the impact of climate change on the coral reefs of the Sudan and also on the diving industry.” —Respondent for Sudan, Northern Africa


4. Status of Deep-Sea Exploration & Research

4.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Respondents for Africa had the third-highest agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important and the second-lowest agreement that they have in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

  • Regional Comparisons

    • Northern Africa had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas and that they had in-country deep-sea technology. They had a moderate to high agreement that they had in-country expertise. 

    • Western Africa had a high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and a moderate agreement that they had in-country expertise.

    • Eastern Africa had a high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas and a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise.

    • Middle and Southern Africa had a low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

4.2 Importance, Tools, & Expertise

How would you assess the status of deep-sea (>200 m) exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q4)
Survey respondents were asked to assess the status of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea by stating to what extent they agreed with the following statements on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in my GeoArea.

  2. We have in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

  3. We have in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Overall, 60% of respondents for Africa agreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea (Figure 8A). Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) disagreed that they had the in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8B). The results of the question on expertise were split: 41% agreed they had in-country deep-sea expertise, while 39% disagreed with the same statement (Figure 8C). 

Figure 8

Deep-Sea Importance, Technology, & Expertise
(A)
Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that deep-sea exploration and research is considered important in their GeoArea, by subregion of Africa. (B) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea tools and technology, by subregion. (C) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea expertise, by subregion.


While most respondents for Northern Africa (54%) agreed that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea, 46% disagreed that they had the in-country tools and technology for deep-sea exploration and research; 58% agreed that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. 

Western Africa exhibited a similar trend: 71% considered exploration and research important in their GeoArea, 62% disagreed that they had in-country deep-sea tools, and 52% agreed they had in-country deep-sea expertise. In Middle Africa, 54% of respondents agreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea; 77% disagreed that they had in-country tools, and an equal number agreed and disagreed that they had in-country deep-sea expertise (31%). Eastern and Southern Africa exhibited similar trends: respondents in both subregions agreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea (63%, 50%); 80% of respondents for Eastern Africa and 50% of respondents for Southern Africa disagreed that they had in-country deep-sea tools; and, 54% of respondents for Eastern Africa and 38% of respondents for Southern Africa agreed that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. 

4.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters

Based on the survey results of Question 4 above, we aggregated the responses for which respondents agreed or strongly agreed that (1) deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in their GeoArea, (2) they have in-country deep-sea technology, and (3) they have in-country deep-sea expertise. These data were used to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) to compare respondents’ perceptions of the relative importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea, and the existence of deep-sea technology and expertise in their GeoArea. The SPs were calculated for each subregion of the world.

Figure 9

Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters
(A)
Number of subregions in Africa with each Importance Status Parameter (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). (B) Number of subregions in Africa with each Technology Status Parameter (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). (C) Number of subregions in Africa with each Expertise Status Parameter (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey).


The Importance Status Parameter (Importance SP) assessed the respondent-reported importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea (Figure 9A). Africa had the third highest average Importance SP after Asia and Oceania, indicating that respondents for Africa thought that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in their GeoArea, more than half of the other regions. Western and Eastern Africa had high Importance SPs of 4 or 5, while Northern, Middle, and Southern Africa had moderate Importance SPs of 3. These parameters are comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

The Technology Status Parameter (Technology SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea tools and technology in their GeoArea (Figure 9B). Africa had the second lowest average Technology SP, after Latin America & the Caribbean, indicating that respondents for Africa thought that deep-sea tools and technology generally did not exist in their GeoArea. All subregions in Africa had low (2) or very low (1) Technology SPs, similar to most subregions worldwide.

The Expertise Status Parameter (Expertise SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea expertise in their GeoArea (Figure 9C). Africa had the second lowest average Expertise SP, after Oceania and Latin America & the Caribbean, indicating that respondents for Africa thought that in-country expertise required to carry out deep-sea exploration and research generally did not exist in their GeoArea. All subregions of Africa had low (2) to moderate (3) Expertise SPs, comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

4.4 Status Parameter Groups

The Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) are based on respondents’ opinions of their GeoArea and are calculated on a scale of 1 for low agreement to 5 for high agreement with each statement (Data Collection & Analysis). SPs vary by subregion, which are classified into six SP Groups based on the level of agreement with each of the status parameters (Table 4). Using the SP Groups, we can evaluate respondents’ perceptions of the importance of and existence of in-country resources for deep-sea exploration and research at the subregional level.

Table 4

SP Group

Importance

Tech

Expertise

Subregions

A

High

High

High

Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Asia

B

Low

High

High

Northern America, Australia & New Zealand

C

Low

Low

Mid

Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Asia, South America

D

High

Low

Mid

Western Africa, Southeastern Asia

E

High

Low

Low

Eastern Africa, Southern Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia

F

Low

Low

Low

Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Polynesia, Central America, Caribbean

Africa’s subregions were split between SP Groups C, D, E, and F, demonstrating high variation in the in-country importance of deep-sea exploration and research and the perceived existence of in-country tools and expertise in this region.

Northern Africa was in SP Group C, indicating a low agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and a moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. Other subregions in this group include Eastern Europe and South America.

Western Africa was in SP Group D, indicating a high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. Southeastern Asia was also in this group.

Eastern Africa was in SP Group E, indicating high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Southern Asia and Micronesia.

Middle and Southern Africa were in SP Group F, indicating a low agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, a low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Polynesia and the Caribbean.

5. Deep-Sea Capacity Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction

5.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Africa had the second-lowest average presence of, access to, and satisfaction with, marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology compared to other regions worldwide.

  • Regional Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction | Northern and Southern Africa had a mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had low to mid access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Western, Middle, and Eastern Africa had a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology; respondents had low access to technology and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they had access. 

5.2 Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction Indices

We assessed organizations, industries, vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools using research to identify the presence of capacity in each GeoArea and survey responses to identify accessibility to and satisfaction of vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools in each subregion. We used this data to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Indices (DSC Indices) to enable comparisons between locations in terms of presence of, access to, and satisfaction with the various types of capacities.

In contrast to the Status Parameters, which are focused on the overall respondent perception of their GeoArea, the DSC Indices represent extensive research on marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology presence, survey respondents’ access to specific types of deep-sea technology, and respondents’ satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. The DSC Indices, therefore, are an initial attempt to assess the relative ability of researchers to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Figure 10

Deep-Sea Capacity Indices
(A)
Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each DSC Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea. (B) Number of subregions in Africa with each DSC Accessibility Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCAIs indicate higher access to more types of deep-sea capacities. (C) Number of subregions in Africa with each DSC Satisfaction Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCSIs indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access.


The Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of organizations and diversity of marine industries, vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea (Figure 10A). Like Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa had the second-lowest average DSCPIs after Oceania. Northern Africa had the highest DSCPIs, indicating that GeoAreas in this subregion had the most types of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology in Africa. Middle Africa had the lowest average DSCPI in Africa. Eastern Africa has the highest variation, indicating a heterogeneous distribution of resources in this subregion, while Southern Africa has the lowest variation. There were no countries in Africa with a DSCPI of 5 (highest). Five GeoAreas had a DSCPI of 1 (lowest): Angola, Cabo Verde, Chagos Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe. 

The Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of these deep-sea capacities in each subregion (Figure 10B). Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean had the second-lowest average DSCAIs, after Oceania. Southern Africa had a moderate DSCAI of 3, the highest in Africa, indicating that respondents for Southern Africa had the highest access to deep-sea technology in Africa, but only moderately so compared to other regions. All other subregions in Africa had a low DSCAI of 2, comparable to two subregions in Oceania and all of Latin America & the Caribbean.

The Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion, based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access in each subregion (Figure 10C). Africa had the second-lowest average DSCSIs, after Latin America & the Caribbean. Overall satisfaction with in-country deep-sea tools in Africa was generally low, with DSCSIs of 2 or 3. Northern Africa had the highest DSCSI in Africa with a DSCSI of 3; respondents there were more satisfied than respondents for other subregions of Africa but in the mid-range of satisfaction with available deep-sea technology globally. 

5.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups

Using the Deep-Sea Capacity Indices, we identified four Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups (DSC Groups) of subregions based on similarities concerning the presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with the technology available (Table 5).

Table 5

DSC Group

Presence

Access

Satisfaction

Subregions

A

Mid-high

High

High

Northern Europe, Northern America

B

Mid

Mid

Mid

Western Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Asia, Southeastern Asia, Australia & New Zealand

C

Mid

Low-mid

Low-mid

Northern Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Southern Asia, South America

D

Low

Low

Low-mid

Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Central America, Caribbean

Africa’s subregions were split between DSC Groups C and D, with generally low access to and satisfaction with marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology. 

Northern and Southern Africa were in DSC Group C, indicating a mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and low to mid access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Other subregions in this group include Western Asia and South America. 

Western, Middle, and Eastern Africa were in DSC Group D, indicating a low presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, low access to technology, and low to mid satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. Other subregions in this group include Melanesia and Central America.

6. Organizations & Industries

6.1 Highlights

  • Industries | The most common types of industries found in Africa were marine transportation and fisheries & aquaculture. Deep-sea mining is the least common industry.

6.2 Organizations

Which universities and/or research labs, government agencies/ministries, and other organizations in your GeoArea study the deep sea or deal with deep-sea issues? (Q7-9, Q7-9R)
We surveyed respondents and conducted manual research to identify deep-sea and marine organizations, including universities and research laboratories, government agencies and ministries, and other organizations. Each research and survey data source had a limit of 5 organizations per type (lab, government, or other) per GeoArea. Overall, we found 470 deep-sea and marine organizations in Africa through manual research alone (74%), 94 were recorded from the survey alone (15%), and 67 were identified by both research and the survey (11%).

Among the 631 deep-sea and marine organizations identified in Africa, 199 were universities and research laboratories (32% of the total), 244 were government agencies and ministries (39%), and 188 were other organizations (40%) (Figure 11A). The greatest total number of organizations were found in Western and Eastern Africa and the fewest in Southern Africa. When normalized by the number of organizations per GeoArea, Southern Africa had the highest average number of organizations per GeoArea; Eastern Africa had the lowest. 

Figure 11

Organizations
(A)
Number of academic institutions (blue), government agencies (orange), and other organizations (grey) based in each subregion of Africa that do marine and/or deep-sea work. Number of survey and research data sources for each subregion (yellow line). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). Higher Org DSCPIs indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea.


The Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Org DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of research, government, and other marine organizations in each GeoArea; higher values indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea. Org DSCPIs in Africa ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 11B), similar to most regions worldwide. Seventeen GeoAreas in Africa (39%) had the maximum Org DSCPI of 5; the Chagos Archipelago and Tristan da Cunha had the minimum Org DSCPI of 1. Northern Africa is the only subregion in the world where all six GeoAreas had the maximum Org DSCPI of 5.

6.3 Marine Industries

What marine industries exist in each GeoArea? (Q10R)
We researched whether or not ten different marine industries were present in each GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea mining.

The most common industries found in Africa were marine transportation and fishing & aquaculture (present in 100% and 98% of GeoAreas, respectively) (Figure 12A). Deep-sea mining was the least present industry. However, at least 11 GeoAreas were prospecting their waters to start deep-sea mining activities, including some GeoAreas where only foreign and more wealthy GeoAreas were conducting such exploration. 

Figure 12

Marine Industries: Research
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each region of Africa in which each type of marine industry was found: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), and deep-sea mining (Deep Mining). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Industry DSCPIs indicate high diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea.


We found nine GeoAreas, across the subregions in Africa that had all types of industries. We also found two GeoAreas, Somalia and Tristan da Cunha, with only five types of industries.

The Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Industry DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of marine industries in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea. Fifteen GeoAreas (34%) had the maximum Industry DSCPI of 5, and eight GeoAreas (18%) had a moderate Industry DSCPI of 3, a trend similar to Europe (Figure 12B). While all subregions in Africa had similar proportions of Industry DSCPIs, Middle Africa had the highest fraction of GeoAreas with high Industry DSCPIs of 4 or 5 (88%).

What marine industries exist in your GeoArea? (Q10)
Survey respondents were asked to select all the marine industries in their GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, deep-sea mining, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine industry in their GeoArea was not an option.

Figure 13

Marine Industries: Survey
Percent of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa who indicated that each marine industry was present in their GeoArea. Industries included: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), deep-sea mining (Deep Mining), or Other.

The majority of respondents for Africa selected fisheries & aquaculture (93%) and marine transportation industries (83%), which were also the two most common industries found in our research (Figure 13). 

We found the biggest differences in research and survey results for marine construction and R&D; significantly more of these industries were found in research than identified by survey respondents. Conversely, respondents selected deep-sea mining significantly more than the number of active deep-sea mining industries found through research.

Other types of industries listed by respondents include mining on the continental shelf.

7. Vessels

7.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 81% of respondents for Africa considered ships and vessels important for their work.

  • Presence | Fishing vessels were the most present, followed by traditional vessels and navy and recreational vessels. Research vessels were the least present type of vessel in Africa.

  • Access | The most accessible vessels in Africa were fishing vessels, followed by research vessels. More than one-third of respondents for Africa reported having no access to vessels.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Africa were generally dissatisfied with vessels in their GeoArea. Respondents for Northern Africa were the most satisfied with vessel operations in their GeoArea, while respondents for all other subregions were dissatisfied with vessels in their GeoArea.

  • Potential Impact | 61% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

7.2 Vessel Importance

How important are ships/vessels for your work? (Q11)
Respondents were asked how important ships and vessels were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 14

Vessels: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa who considered vessels very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

The majority of respondents for Africa (81%) considered ships and vessels very important for their work (Figure 14). 

In Northern Africa, 79% of respondents considered vessels important to very important, and 91% of respondents for Western Africa, 77% for Middle Africa, 77% for Eastern Africa, and 88% for Southern Africa agreed. Six respondents for all of Africa (6%) considered vessels not important or a little important for their work.

7.3 Vessel Presence: Research Results

What types of vessels are present in each GeoArea? (Q12R)
We researched the types of vessels present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had research, fishing, cruise ships, recreational, traditional, or navy vessels. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of vessel, with presence meaning that at least one vessel of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

In Africa, fishing vessels were the most present, found in 43 of the 44 GeoAreas (98%), followed by traditional vessels found in 41 GeoAreas (93%), and navy and recreational vessels, both present in 39 GeoAreas (89%). Research vessels were the least present, found in only 19 GeoAreas (43%) (Figure 15A). 

Figure 15

Vessels: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Africa in which each type of vessel was found through research: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), or navy vessels (Navy). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea.


Fourteen GeoAreas (32%) had all types of vessels, Tristan da Cunha only had two, and Ascension and Equatorial Guinea had three.

In Northern Africa, cruise, fishing, and navy vessels were found in all GeoAreas. In Western and Eastern Africa, fishing vessels were found in all GeoAreas. In Middle Africa, all GeoAreas had fishing and traditional vessels. Southern Africa had recreational and traditional vessels in all three GeoAreas.

The Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Vessel DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of vessels in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea. Using the Vessel DSCPI, we found that vessels were the technical capacity with the highest presence in Africa. GeoAreas in Africa had higher Vessel DSCPIs than the global average (Figure 15B). Thirty-one GeoAreas (70%) across Africa had the maximum Vessel DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of vessels were present), and ten had a Vessel DSCPI of 4 (23%). Only one GeoArea, Tristan da Cunha, had a low Vessel DSCPI of 2. 

Other types of vessels found during the research included tug boats, multi-purpose vessels (accommodation, construction, and maintenance), maritime tanker, transport ships, business yachts, patrol boats, dredges, and towing vessels (sometimes for deep-sea in particular).

7.4 Vessel Access: Survey Results

What kinds of vessels do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q12/13)
Respondents were asked to select all types of vessels to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: research vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, recreational vessels, traditional vessels, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of vessel to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible vessels in Africa were fishing vessels (available to 45% of respondents), followed by research vessels (available to 39%) (Figure 16A). 

Figure 16

Vessels: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Africa with access to each type of vessel: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), other, or none of the above. (B) Number of subregions of Africa with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to vessels in their GeoArea.


Research vessels were found to be the most accessible in every subregion of Africa except Middle Africa, where fishing vessels were the most accessible to respondents. More than one-third of respondents for Africa reported having no access to vessels (37%).

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Vessel DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of vessels. In Africa, all subregions had a Vessel DSCAI of 2 (Figure 16B), indicating that access to vessels in Africa was low relative to other types of deep-sea technology but equivalent to most other regions worldwide. 

Respondents in Africa noted other types of vessels, including navy and patrol vessels, mining exploration vessels, and opportunistic use of foreign research vessels. 

7.5 Vessel Satisfaction

How well do the vessels meet your needs? (Q14)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with vessels in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, size, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 101 total respondents for Africa, 81-86 answered these questions (80-85% response rate). 

On average, 50% of respondents for Africa were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with all aspects of vessel operation in their GeoArea (Figure 17). 

Figure 17

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of vessels available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of vessel operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Size (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 18

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Africa with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the vessels to which they have access.

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicated more overall satisfaction with vessels to which respondents had access. Vessel DSVSIs in Africa ranged from very low (1) to moderate (3) and were the lowest of all regions worldwide (Figure 18). With a Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) of 3, respondents for Northern Africa were the most satisfied with vessels in the region, but only moderately so compared to other regions around the world. 

Respondents noted several factors that impacted how well vessels in their GeoArea met their needs, including lack of national structure, programs, and resources; limited access to research vessels; safety, age, and condition of vessels; and lack of coordination between scientific researchers and vessels.

7.6 Potential Impact of Increased Vessel Access

What is the potential impact of increased access to vessels? (Q15)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to vessels would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 19

Vessels: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who said that increased access to vessels would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 61% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to vessels would have a high or transformative impact on their work (Figure 19).

Respondents for Southern Africa were the most optimistic about the potential impact, with 75% assessing high/transformative potential impact. Respondents for Western and Eastern Africa rated potential impact at 66% high/transformative, and respondents for Northern and Middle Africa rated potential impact at 50-54% high/transformative. Ten respondents for all of Africa (10%) responded that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to vessels.

8. Deep Submergence Vehicles

8.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 68% of respondents for Africa considered DSVs important for their work.

  • Presence | ROVs were the most present DSVs, followed by benthic landers. HOVs were the least present type of vehicle found in Africa.

  • Access | The most accessible DSVs in Africa were ROVs, followed by benthic landers and AUVs. More than half of respondents for Africa reported having no access to any DSVs. 

  • Depth Rating | 44% of DSVs to which respondents had access could operate deeper than 200 mbsl. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Africa were generally dissatisfied with available DSVs and every aspect of their operation. 

  • Potential Impact | 70% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

8.2 DSV Importance

How important are deep submergence vehicles (DSVs) for your work? (Q17)
Respondents were asked how important DSVs were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 20

DSVs: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa who considered DSVs very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

Overall, 68% of respondents for Africa considered DSVs important or very important for their work (Figure 20). 

In Northern Africa, 63% of respondents considered DSVs important to very important, as well as 81% of respondents for Western Africa, 54% of respondents for Middle Africa, 69% of respondents for Eastern Africa, and 75% of respondents for Southern Africa. Fourteen respondents (16%) for all of Africa considered DSVs a little or not important for their work.

8.3 DSV Presence: Research Results

What types of DSVs are present in each GeoArea? (Q18R)
We researched the types of DSVs present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, or towsleds. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of DSV, with presence meaning that at least one vehicle of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

ROVs were the most common DSVs found in Africa, present in 19 GeoAreas (43%), followed by benthic landers in seven GeoAreas (16%). HOVs were the least common, found in only one GeoArea (2%) (Figure 21A). Our research recorded no DSVs in 21 GeoAreas (48%) across all subregions of Africa. 

Figure 21

DSVs: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Africa in which each type of DSV was found through research: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea.


We found no GeoAreas in Africa that had all six types of DSVs, and only one GeoArea had more than three types. Mayotte had five DSV types, but these were in partnership with overseas organizations in France, so those DSV resources were attributed to France. However, it represents real opportunities for Mayotte to explore deep-sea waters. We found many DSVs—especially AUVs, benthic landers, and drifters—were associated with foreign organizations. These foreign capacities greatly increased the number of HOVs used in African deep-sea waters.

ROVs were the most present DSV type found in Northern, Western, Middle, and Eastern Africa. In Southern Africa, ROVs, drifters, and benthic landers were the most present.

The DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSV DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of DSVs in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea. DSVs were the technical capacity with the least extensive presence in Africa, and GeoAreas in Africa had the lowest DSV DSCPIs worldwide (Figure 21B). Thirty-four GeoAreas in Africa (77%) had the minimum DSV DSCPI of 1, including all GeoAreas in Western Africa.

8.4 DSV Access: Survey Results

What kinds of DSVs do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q18)
Respondents were asked to select all types of DSVs to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, towsled, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of DSV to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible DSVs in Africa were ROVs (available to 26% of respondents), followed by benthic landers (available to 11%), and AUVs (6%) (Figure 22A). 

Figure 22

DSVs: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Africa with access to each type of DSV: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to DSVs in their GeoArea.


ROVs were the most accessible type of DSV available to respondents in all subregions except Eastern Africa, where benthic landers had the same level of accessibility. Sixty respondents for Africa (59%) reported having no access to any DSVs. 

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSV DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of DSVs in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of DSVs. All subregions of Africa had DSV DSCAI of 1, except Southern Africa, which had DSV DSCAIs of 2 (Figure 22B). While these indices indicate low levels of access to DSVs across Africa, in a global context, they are similar to most subregions worldwide.

What is the approximate depth range of DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q19)
Respondents were asked to select the approximate depth range of the DSVs to which they had access from a list of the following options: 0-200 m, 0-1,000 m, 0-2,000 m, 0-4,000 m, >4,000 m, or not applicable.

Fifty-two respondents reported the depth capabilities of 144 vehicles, 56% of which could only operate in waters shallower than 200 m (Figure 23).

Figure 23

DSVs: Depth Rating
Number of deep submergence vehicles to which respondents for Africa reported access, shown by subregion (A) and depth zone (B). Selection counts include all types of DSVs to which respondents reported access: ROVS, AUVs, landers, drifters, towsleds, and HOVs.


In Southern Africa, respondents had access to vehicles that could operate to a maximum depth of 2,000 m. In all other regions, at least one respondent had access to vehicles that could operate to 4,000 mbsl. In Northern, Western, and Eastern Africa, respondents reported access to DSVs that could operate deeper than 4,000 mbsl.

8.5 DSV Satisfaction 

How well do the DSVs meet your needs? (Q20)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with DSVs in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 101 total respondents for Africa, 53-56 answered these questions (52-55% response rate). 

Overall, 41-55% of respondents for Africa were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with all aspects of DSV operation (Figure 24). 

Figure 24

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of DSVs available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of DSV operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 25

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Africa with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the DSVs to which they have access.

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSV DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with DSVs based on several factors, including cost, DSV, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with DSVs to which respondents had access. DSV DSCSIs in Africa ranged from very low (1) to moderate (3) (Figure 25), similar to Asia, Oceania, and Latin America & the Caribbean. With a DSV DSCSI of 3, respondents for Western Africa were the most satisfied in the region, but only moderately so in comparison to other regions worldwide. 

Several respondents noted that DSVs were generally unavailable in their area, or there was a lack of training and expertise to operate and maintain them. 

8.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to DSVs

What is the potential impact of increased access to DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q21)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to DSVs would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 26

DSVs: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who said that increased access to DSVs would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 70% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high or transformative impact on their work (Figure 26).

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 58% of respondents for Northern Africa, 81% for Western Africa, 69% for Middle Africa, 69% for Eastern Africa, and 88% for Southern Africa reporting that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. Fourteen respondents across Africa (14%) responded that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased DSV access.

"We [don't] have access to such technology, if we could acquire it from some aid or project it would be transformative!" --Respondent for Eritrea, Eastern Africa


9. Sensor Systems

9.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 77% of respondents for Africa considered deep-sea sensing systems important for their work.

  • Presence | Navigation systems were the most present type, followed by imaging systems. Genetic sensors for eDNA were the least present type.

  • Access | The most accessible sensor systems in Africa were water sampling systems, followed by CTDs and chemical sensors. More than a quarter of respondents reported having no access to deep-sea sensors. 

  • Satisfaction | Satisfaction with sensor systems in Africa was split between satisfied and dissatisfied. Respondents for northern Africa were the most satisfied and respondents for Western Africa were the least satisfied with sensor systems in their GeoArea.. 

  • Potential Impact | 77% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

9.2 Sensor System Importance

How important are deep-sea sensors for your work? (Q23)
Respondents were asked how important deep-sea sensors were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 27

Sensors: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa who considered sensors very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 77% of respondents for Africa consider deep-sea sensing systems important to very important for their work (Figure 27). 

The majority of respondents in all subregions considered deep-sea sensors important to very important for their work; 75% of respondents for Northern Africa, 86% of respondents for Western Africa, 85% of respondents for Middle Africa, 71% of respondents for Eastern Africa, and 75% in Southern Africa. Nine respondents for Africa (9%) considered deep-sea sensors of little importance or not important for their work.

9.3 Sensor System Presence: Research Results

What types of deep-sea sensor systems are present in each GeoArea? (Q24R)
We researched the types of sensor systems present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g. O2, pH, eH), water sampling systems, navigation systems, seafloor mapping systems, or imaging systems. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of sensor system, with presence meaning that at least one sensor system of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

Navigation systems were the most common type of sensor system found in Africa, present in 21 GeoAreas (48%), followed by imaging systems in 18 GeoAreas (41%). eDNA systems were the least present type, found in three GeoAreas (7%) (Figure 28A). 

Figure 28

Sensors: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Africa in which each type of sensor system was found through research: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea.


Three GeoAreas, including Egypt, Algeria, and Mayotte, had all types of sensor systems. We found no sensor systems in eighteen GeoAreas (41%) situated across Africa, except in Southern Africa.

In Northern Africa, navigation and water sampling systems were the most commonly found sensor system types. Imaging systems were most common in Western Africa. In Middle and Southern Africa, navigation systems were most commonly found, and navigation and imaging systems were the most present in Eastern Africa. 

The Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Sensor DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of sensors in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea. Based on the Sensor DSCPI, sensors were the technical capacity with the second-lowest diversity in Africa (Figure 28B). Half of the six GeoAreas of Northern Africa had the maximum Sensor DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of sensor systems were present). One-half to three-quarters of the GeoAreas in Western, Middle, and Eastern Africa had the minimum Sensor DSCPI of 1. Africa had the lowest Sensor DSCPIs compared to all other regions worldwide.

9.4 Sensor System Access: Survey Results

What kinds of deep-sea sensors do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q24)
Respondents were asked to select all types of sensor systems to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g., O2, pH, eH), imaging systems, water sampling, navigation, seafloor mapping, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of sensor system to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible sensor systems in Africa were water sampling systems (available to 54% of respondents), followed by CTDs (available to 49%), and chemical sensors (48%) (Figure 29A). Twenty-nine respondents (29%) reported having no access to deep-sea sensors. 

Figure 29

Sensors: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Africa with access to each type of sensor system: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Africa with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to sensor systems in their GeoArea.


Water sampling systems were the most accessible to respondents for Northern, Middle, and Southern Africa. In Middle and Eastern Africa, CTDs were the most accessible type of sensor system. 

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Sensor DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of sensors in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of sensors. Northern and Southern Africa had Sensor DSCAIs of 3, while all other African subregions had Sensor DSCAIs of 2 (Figure 29B). These indices indicate moderate (3) to low (2) levels of access to sensor systems in Africa and globally. Additional sensors noted by respondents for Africa include echo sounders and chlorophyll a. 

9.5 Sensor System Satisfaction 

How well do deep-sea sensors meet your needs? (Q25)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with deep-sea sensor systems in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, ease of use, and accuracy, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 101 total respondents for Africa, 67-73 answered these questions (66-72% response rate). 

On average, 37% of respondents for Africa were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with sensor systems in their GeoArea (Figure 30A). Overall, 39-43% of respondents for Africa were split but slightly more satisfied with sensor system accuracy, capabilities, and ease of use (Figure 30D, F, G). They were less satisfied with availability, cost, and depth rating (Figure 30B, C, E). 

Figure 30

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of sensors available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of sensor operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), Ease of Use (F), and Accuracy (G).

Figure 31

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Africa with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the sensor systems to which they have access.

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Sensor DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with sensors based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with sensors to which respondents had access. Sensor DSCSIs in Africa ranged from low (2) to moderate (3) (Figure 31). With a Sensor DSCSI of 3, respondents for Northern Africa were the most satisfied in the region, but only moderately so in comparison to other regions around the world. 

Several respondents for Africa noted that sensors in their GeoArea were obsolete, required maintenance, and/or needed calibration. Others indicated that they could not answer the questions about sensors because such systems were unavailable to them. Training and capacity were also noted as a barrier to sensor use.

9.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Sensors

What is the potential impact of increased access to deep-sea sensors? (Q26)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to deep-sea sensors would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 32

Sensors: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who said that increased access to sensor systems would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 77% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 32). 

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 67% of respondents for Northern Africa, 86% of respondents for Western Africa, 85% of respondents for Middle Africa, 71% of respondents for Eastern Africa, and 100% of respondents for Southern Africa reporting that increased access would result in high/transformative impact. Ten respondents across Africa (10%) reported that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to deep-sea sensor systems.

"We don't have an underwater observation vehicle given their acquisition cost and expertise. Nevertheless, we are currently developing underwater observation sensors using Raspberry Pi and Arduino microcomputers, for a short time collecting data on the state of the marine environment." --Respondent for Benin, Western Africa


10. Data Tools

10.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 86% of respondents for Africa reported data analysis & access tools were important to very important for their work.

  • Presence | Geographic information systems (GIS) was the most present data tool, followed by machine learning tools. Cloud computing and data storage were the least present.

  • Access | The most accessible data tool in Africa was GIS, followed by data management tools and data visualization. More than a quarter of respondents for Africa reported having no access to any of the listed data tools.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Africa were split in opinion, but generally dissatisfied with data tools in their GeoArea. Overall, respondents were most dissatisfied with data tool availability and cost. Respondents for Northern Africa were the most satisfied with data tools available to them.

  • Potential Impact | 81% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work.

10.2 Data Tools Importance

How important are data analysis & access tools for your work? (Q28)
Respondents were asked how important data tools were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 33

Data Tools: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Africa who considered data tools very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 86% of respondents for Africa reported data analysis & access tools important to very important for their work (Figure 33). 

The majority of respondents in each subregion considered data tools important to very important for their work; 92% of respondents for Northern Africa, 86% of respondents for Western Africa, 92% of respondents for Middle Africa, 80% of respondents for Eastern Africa, and 88% of respondents for Southern Africa. Five respondents for Africa (5%) considered data analysis & access tools a little or not important for their work.

10.3 Data Tools Presence: Research Results

What type of data analysis & access tools are present in each GeoArea? (Q29R)
We researched the types of data tools present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had geographic information systems (GIS), data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), cloud computing, and/or genomic sequencing tools. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of data tool, with presence meaning that at least one data tool of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

GIS systems were the most common type of data tools in Africa, found in 43 GeoAreas (98%), followed by ML/AI tools in 31 GeoAreas (71%). Cloud computing was the least present, found in 26 GeoAreas (59%) (Figure 34A). 

Figure 34

Data Tools: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Africa in which each type of data tool was found through research: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), and machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Africa with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea.


Nine GeoAreas (21%) across Africa, especially in Northern Africa, had all types of data tools. Seven GeoAreas had the least types of data tools, with Angola having only one type and six others having only two types.

In Northern Africa, cloud computing, data visualization, GIS, machine learning, and sequencing tools were present in all GeoAreas. GIS tools were found in all GeoAreas of Western, Middle, and Eastern Africa. In Southern Africa, cloud computing was the most common tool found in all three GeoAreas.

The Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Data DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea. Data tools were the technical capacity with the second-highest diversity in Africa after vessels, and GeoAreas in Africa had higher Data DSCPIs compared to the global average (Figure 34B). Twenty-one GeoAreas (48%) had the maximum Data DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of data tools were present), and only one GeoArea, Angola, had the minimum Data DSCPI of 1. While the presence of data tools was moderate to high on average, we found the highest presence in Northern Africa and the lowest in Western and Middle Africa.

10.4 Data Tools Access: Survey Results

What kinds of data analysis & access tools do you have access to? (Q29)
Respondents were asked to select all types of data tools to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: cloud computing, data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, genomic sequencing, geographic information systems (GIS), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of data tool to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible data tools in Africa were GIS (available to 69% of respondents), followed by data management tools and data visualization (44% each) (Figure 35A). 

Figure 35

Data Tools: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Africa with access to each type of data tool: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Africa with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to data tools in their GeoArea.


GIS was the most accessible type of data tool available in all African subregions, with the exception of Middle Africa, where data visualization tools were most accessible to respondents. Twenty-six respondents for Africa (26%) reported having no access to any of the listed data tools or did not know what data tools were available to them.

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Data DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of data tools. Northern, Western, and Southern Africa had Sensor DSCAIs of 3, while Middle and Eastern Africa had Sensor DSCAIs of 2 (Figure 35B). These indices indicate moderate (3) to low (2) levels of access to sensor systems in Africa and globally.

One respondent noted that in Seychelles, some of these tools were available but existed within governmental structures and were not for use by researchers outside of the government. 

10.5 Data Tools Satisfaction 

How well do data analysis & access tools meet your needs? (Q30)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with data tools in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, ease of use, and bandwidth, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 101 respondents for Africa, 78-82 answered these questions (77-81% response rate). 

On average, 39% of respondents for Africa were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with data tools in their GeoArea (Figure 36A). Overall, 43-46% of respondents for Africa were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with data tool cost and availability (Figure 36B-C). They were split in opinion on capabilities, ease of use, and bandwidth, with 35% satisfied and 33-37% dissatisfied with these aspects of operation (Figure 36D-F). 

Figure 36

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of data tools available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of data tool operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Ease of Use (E), and Bandwidth (F).

Figure 37

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Africa with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (yellows), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the data tools to which they have access.

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Data DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with data tools based on several factors, Data cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with data tools to which respondents had access. Northern and Eastern Africa had Data DSCSIs of 2, while all other African subregions had Data DSCSIs of 1 (Figure 37). These indices indicate low (2) to very low (1) levels of satisfaction with data tools within Africa. Satisfaction with data tools in Africa ranks among the lowest in the world, along with Latin America & the Caribbean.

Additional factors that respondents noted on data tool availability and access included data ownership, limited sharing, unstable internet connection networks with low speed, high cost of internet bandwidth, and lack of technical training, knowledge, and expertise. 

10.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Data Tools

What is the potential impact of increased access to data analysis & access tools in your GeoArea? (Q31)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to data tools would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Overall, 81% of respondents for Africa reported that increased access to data analysis & access tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 38). 

Figure 38

Data Tools: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Africa who said that increased access to data tools would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 79% of respondents for Northern Africa, 95% of respondents for Western Africa, 77% of respondents for Middle Africa, 74% of respondents for Eastern Africa, and 88% of respondents for Southern Africa reporting that increased access would result in high or transformative impact. Eight respondents for Africa (8%) reported that there would be no impact on their work with increased access to data analysis & access tools.

"Online platforms make it easier for us to access satellite data. In order to achieve the best result, we insist on collecting data locally using the appropriate tools and technologies." --Respondent for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Middle Africa

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