Africa has more than half of the world's fertile yet untapped land. The continent uses only 2% of its renewable water resources, while the world average is 5%. The use of technology, especially drones, perfectly optimizes the use of these natural resources.
Technological Observation in Africa
Africa has been facing for a few years, what can be considered as a true technological revolution. This observation stems from the fact that the number of young start-ups in the new technology sector has continued to grow on the continent over the past ten years. Each of these start-ups offers innovative solutions using technological tools. One of the tools being used for this purpose is the "drone".
Drones in Africa have a real added value in the issues of transport & mobility, environmental management, and economical issues. Founded in 2015, in Cameroon, “DroneAfrica” through innovative products and services, intends to position itself as a major player in the drone market in Africa and elsewhere.
Will & Brothers, piloted by young William Elong, developed the DroneAfrica, which offers the first civilian drone service in Cameroon. This application, equipped with a miniaturized camera can be controlled remotely, to capture unpublished images on very large radii.
Where can a drone be applied?
Be it a construction expert, a farmer, a real estate agent or a business leader, DroneAfrica is designed to meet specific needs in a wide range of industries. “Our added value is the customization of our drones capable of offering you infinite possibilities from the aerial capture of images to the analysis of data.”
The UAVs is Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, autonomous or remotely piloted, with diverse and varied applications. Drones are best known for their use in the field of security, events and entertainment. For now, few are considering the utility of drones in the agricultural sector.
How agriculture in Africa awaits the use of drones
Per the World Bank report of March 2013, the potential of the agriculture and agri-food sector in Africa could reach $ 1000 billion by 2030. This market currently amounts to just over $ 300 billion; It should therefore triple. This requires three essential elements:
- Access to capital and electricity for stakeholders
- Better technologies for transport and logistics
Why drones for agriculture in Africa?
- Optimizes the travel time of the farm
- Crop diagnostics using the drones' on-board cameras.
- Control and monitoring of the harvest is much more effective by drones than on foot.
- Reduces crop damage with frequent control and therefore fewer losses.
What is happening else where in Africa with drones?
Opened in 2017, Malawi’s Drone Test Corridor has been accepting global applications. The program is managed by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority in partnership with UNICEF. The primary purpose is to test UAV’s for humanitarian purposes, but the program “was designed to provide a controlled platform for governments and other partner to explore how UAV’s can help deliver services,” according to Michael Scheibenreif, UNICEF’s drone lead in Malawi.
The decision to include the private sector opened the launch pads for commercial drones. Swedish firm GLOBEHE has tested using the corridor and reps from Chinese e-commerce company JD have toured the site. Other companies to test in Malawi’s corridor include Belgian UAV air traffic systems company Uniflyhttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uniflyand U.S. delivery drone manufacturer Vayu, according to Scheibenreif.
In Rwanda (East Africa)
In Rwanda: The country’s government became one of the first adopters of performance-based regulations for all drones with future expectations to cover the rest of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, and South Sudan).
The country’s infrastructure is not good enough that, it can take four hours for life-saving medical supplies to be delivered to its rural regions. But by using drones to bypass dilapidated roads, robotics company Zipline is working to cure Rwanda's transport and medical access issue and shorten delivery times to just 15 minutes and patients can get access to care immediately.
The operation uses fixed-wing drones that automatically fly to destinations even in the rural areas. They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning. The technology promises to make deliveries much faster than had previously been possible by road. Zipline, the US start-up running the project, is made up of engineers who formerly worked at Space X, Google, Lockheed Martin and other tech companies. Its drones will initially be used to deliver blood, plasma, and coagulants to hospitals across rural areas in Rwanda, helping to cut waiting times from hours to minutes.
As African Mobilities Observatory - AMO/OMA, we firmly believe that the drone is the ideal technological tool that will allow African agriculture to reach its optimal level and make Africa self-sustaining in terms of agribusiness mobility, and even boosting exports from one country to the other. Including other sectors such as Health, Transport & Logistics, and security to mention but a few.
Do you believe in the idea of drones for Africa?
By Joseph Semuju
Community Manager - AMO
African Mobilities Observatory - AMO, MICHELIN
Message was edited by: Joseph Semuju
Message was edited by: Joseph Semuju