(MENAFN - EIN)
The World Bank, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution have come together to support the Government of Tanzania in the organization of the Lake Victoria Challenge , an initiative that aims to explore drones as a new mobility model for the hard-to-reach, rural communities of the Lake Victoria region.
East Africa's Lake Victoria basin is the most densely populated rural area in the world, home to 35 million people. Life-saving cargo such as blood packs, critical medication, anti-venom, or spare parts for hospital machines often cannot reach those who need them in sufficient time. The high cost of transportation also means that local producers have difficulty in getting their products and produce to market, particularly perishable goods.
The Lake Victoria Challenge has identified an opportunity in these challenges. Comprised of a symposium, expo and flying competition, the three-day event planned for 2019 in Tanzania's Mwanza Region invites global technologists, health and transport experts, local African government and policymakers to together effect change.
The Lake Victoria Challenge has reached its first major milestone: the completion of a celebrated trial and symposium on October 29–31 2018 in Mwanza, Tanzania. This three-day event, hosted by the Government of Tanzania and supported by the World Bank, brought together 280+ policymakers, innovators, government and local stakeholders to test the feasibility of a large-scale drone competition in Mwanza Region, while an accompanying symposium opened up lively discussion spanning three tracks pertinent to the Lake Victoria Challenge's aims and context. Learn more and view our event video over on our symposium page: http://www.lakevictoriachallenge.org/symposium .
'The rural island communities in and around Mwanza are often only accessible by boat, which can be slow and expensive. A drone network will support this existing infrastructure, improving access to healthcare and opportunity,' said Hon. John Mongella, the Regional Commissioner of the Mwanza Region.
The Lake Victoria Challenge aims to provide long-term opportunities for growth and development in East Africa. Young Africans are three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults, and in an effort to address this, a new and future-oriented mobility economy in Mwanza will improve access to technology and boost entrepreneurship. As a technology hub, Mwanza aims to offer ambitious young Africans the opportunity to build their future and envisages a drone network serviced by droneports, fabrication labs, e-commerce facilities and public plazas.
Partnerships reached between the World Bank and the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, respectively will help the Lake Victoria Challenge reach its ambitious goals.
'This collaboration will support the development of the Lake Victoria Challenge. The partnership can support reimagining Lake Victoria's mobility, public health systems and daily life; opening up innovative possibilities for real-world impact. This goes further than just drones, and will benefit industries like agriculture, e-commerce, entertainment, construction, and telecommunications. We're excited to see what the future will hold for the Lake region, and we commend the Regional Commissioner of Mwanza for taking a lead on making it happen,' said Bella Bird, Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia at the World Bank Group.
'It is exciting and timely to see UNICEF and the World Bank collaborating around new and frontier technology. The Lake Victoria Challenge is a concrete example of how technological, regulatory, and social innovations can help solve problems for and with the world's most vulnerable populations. This type of work is also central to the Secretary-General's Strategy on New Technology which explicitly calls for a United Nations that supports new cooperation frameworks and enhances our ability to provide government capacity development,' said Chris Fabian, UNICEF Ventures Lead, New York.
'At the World Food Programme, we believe that drones have a viable and potentially critical role to play in supporting our work. The Lake Victoria Challenge offers an opportunity to better understand the potential of this emerging technology in terms of our mission and to demonstrate how government, regulators, international aid, innovators and industries can unite for the benefit of East Africa — and beyond,' said Michael Dunford, World Food Programme Tanzania Country Representative.
'The Lake Victoria Challenge is unlike any other drone competition, in that it is initiated and supported by the Government of Tanzania. As a technology, drones have the power to transform African mobility — but robust regulatory frameworks are required to make the dream into a reality. That's why the World Economic Forum has partnered with the World Bank to support the development of real use cases in Mwanza,' said Harrison Wolf, Project Lead, Drones and Tomorrow's Airspace, World Economic Forum.
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According to World Bank estimates, Africa needs to spend $38 billion more each year on transport infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations and maintenance to sustain its current levels of development. A significant financing deficit lies between Africa's reality and the mobility that it both needs and aspires to. Only a third (34%) of Africa's population is within 2kms of an all-weather road. This is more than just a mobility issue. Road accidents are the continent's third biggest killer, making this also an issue of public health.
Mwanza's drone corridor is nestled between an airport and large, hard-to-reach communities, making the Lake Victoria Challenge an ideal rehearsal for real-world operations and risk assessment. The Lake Victoria Challenge aims to test the integration of drones into the full ecology of an existing supply chain, and brings together users, operators, community stakeholders and government.
About the World Bank
The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than 3%; Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country.
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.
Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide.
About UNICEF Innovation
Innovation at UNICEF is driven by an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF's work for children. Innovations range from new ways to structure programs to new products and technologies.
To create these solutions, UNICEF works with a network of global problem solvers who can find new ways to accelerate results that reduce inequities for children. These innovators are also creating a new global infrastructure of openness, of collaboration across borders, of exploration, and of innovation for equity.
About the World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.
As the international community has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030, one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. Food and food-related assistance lie at the heart of the struggle to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.
WFP's efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of WFP's work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
About the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The global network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings together governments, leading companies, civil society and experts from around the world to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to the policy and governance of technology. Its vision is to shape the development and use of technology in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. The network develops, implements and scales agile and human-centred pilot projects that can be adopted by policy-makers, legislators and regulators worldwide.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.
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