Angola becomes the newest member of the GBIF network

GBIF Portugal-led project and EU-funded programme both played critical roles in putting Africa’s largest Portuguese-speaking country on the path to membership

Acanthoplus longipes
Armoured ground-cricket (Acanthoplus longipes) observed near Sumbe, Angola by Luis Querido. Photo via iNaturalist, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The Republic of Angola has joined GBIF as an associate participant, with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the direct authority of President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. The addition expands the GBIF network in Africa to a total of 21 countries, passing Europe as GBIF's largest region.

Angola's formal membership has its roots in a 2015 Capacity Enhancement Support Programme project led by GBIF Portugal aimed at promoting the network in the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa. The continent's seventh-largest country is also the tenth member to join as a direct result the Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme funded by the European Union and led by GBIF.

“Our country’s collections and institutions hold vast potential for sharing information on biodiversity,” said Domingos da Silva Neto of Angola's Ministry of Higher Education Science, Technology and Innovation (MESCTI). “As a GBIF member, Angola aims to take responsibility for mechanisms that help its data-holding institutions share information with the GBIF network. We hope that combined contributions from Angola and the international scientific community can create synergies to transform technology that meets the needs of society.”

“We congratulate Angola and are pleased to see the newest member of the GBIF network expand our Portuguese-speaking community,” said Rui Figueira, researcher at Instituto Superior de Agronomia and node manager of GBIF Portugal. “The Portuguese node has a strategic commitment to promote the involvement of Lusophone countries in GBIF, which aligns with GBIF’s increasing level of multilingual support. The entry of Angola creates great opportunities for scientific institutions in Portugal and elsewhere to partner with them on joint capacity-enhancement activities.”

In addition to the 43,000-plus species occurrences recently added by the BID project, users of have access to more than 263,000 records about biodiversity in Angola published by 194 institutions from 33 countries and areas.

Notable contributions come from the Herbarium LISC and the Bibliographic records of Angola mammals, datasets published by the Institute for Tropical Scientific Research, GBIF Portugal's former host institution. Three of the BID-related datasets rank among the seven largest data sources for Angola, keeping company with eBird and the Natural History Museum, London.