The Lake Victoria Challenge is the first event of its kind in Africa

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) asks what could happen if Africa can unlock the lower skies as a resource for mobility. This unique event explores the emerging transportation technologies that can leapfrog Africa’s infrastructure deficit and address the continent’s infrastructure, public health and mobility challenges with a visionary, safe and scalable solution.



The inaugural Lake Victoria Challenge event will take place in the form of a symposium, expo, flying competition and a range of networking events. An international gathering of key government and regulatory stakeholders with global and local innovators, investors, businesses and media, the event aims to propel the use of drones and other aerial technologies for positive economic and social impact. Demonstrating potential use cases for the region, this multi-year stakeholder engagement program asks: what will the future of mobility look like?

As part of this process, the Lake Victoria Challenge will help identify and establish a small droneport on Juma Island, based on the Norman Foster Foundation designs, to enable competition flights from Mwanza City with an ambition to establish further droneports around Lake Victoria over time.

An innovative solution where it is needed most

Conventional transport infrastructure (notably road and rail) is prohibitively expensive in Africa, and only 34% of Africa’s population are within 2 km of an all-weather road. This is partly an issue of budget: In order to sustain current levels of development, the continent needs to spend $38 billion more each year on infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations.

Drones offer a starting point for radically rethinking the region’s mobility, lowering the price of transportation per kilo per kilometer to a minimum. In pioneering the development of an economically viable and secure droneport, the Lake Victoria Challenge is an advocate for ideas that can be adopted throughout Africa and the rest of the world.

A laboratory for real-world testing

Mwanza’s drone corridor is nestled between military airspace and large, hard-to-reach communities, making the Lake Victoria Challenge ideal for the rehearsal of operations and risk assessment.

The Lake Victoria Challenge is the first program to integrate drones into the full ecology of the supply chain, and is connected to existing maintenance, operations, users, community and government.

Opportunities for growth

As a project initiated by the local government, the Lake Victoria Challenge receives unprecedented support in building frameworks that can transition into real-life business opportunities. We empower local stakeholders by creating a self-sustaining industry for many years to come.

The value of prospective drone applications for global infrastructure projects is estimated at $44.2 billion, and prospective drone industry applications globally are valued at $127.3 billion. Key industries include infrastructure, delivery and e-commerce, agriculture, mobility and logistics, energy, public safety and security, entertainment, insurance, mining and construction and telecommunications.


Mwanza Region is located in the extreme northern quarter of mainland Tanzania, bordering Lake Victoria, and includes more than 86 inhabited islands in Lake Victoria. The population of Mwanza is 2.7 million, which is second only to the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, making it one of the highest rural population densities in the world.

This means that there is a vast medical supply network that is ready for revitalization. Mwanza Region has 286 health facilities, and all public sector facilities receive supplies from the Medical Stores Department in Mwanza city. Bugando Medical Centre, also located in Mwanza city, is a referral, consultant and university teaching hospital for the Lake and Western zones and serves a catchment population of over 14 million people. Laboratory samples (including viral load samples and dried blood spots) that are collected by health facilities must be sent and tested at Bugando Medical Centre. The vision is to connect the facilities in Mwanza City with the hard-to-reach facilities in the region using drone cargo transports and droneport infrastructure.


Africa has some of the most densely populated rural regions in the world, with 50% of its population expected to be in cities within 25 years. Roughly 51% of Africa’s population is under the age of 19, and it’s estimated that fewer than 70% of the population will attain salaried jobs upon reaching adulthood. In improving access to technology and entrepreneurship, and developing Mwanza as an innovation hub, African youth can build their own futures in the face of employment scarcity. In creating new aerial infrastructure, the Lake Victoria Challenge is developing an emerging economy for an African tomorrow.


Regional Commissioner’s Office, Mwanza

The Lake Victoria Challenge is made possible through the directive and generous support of the Regional Commissioner’s Office of Mwanza, Tanzania.

“The Lake Victoria Challenge is a catalyst for digital innovation in Mwanza and Tanzania that will lead to job creation for youth and impact industrialization while laying an enabling environment foundation for sustainable infrastructure.”

Hon. John Mongella, Regional Commissioner of Mwanza

“The Government of Tanzania, and especially my Ministry, supports this program and wishes it success.”

Hon. Ummy Ally Mwalimu, Minister of Health and Social Welfare

“There is a big advantage in using a technology like drones, it can be faster, cheaper and smarter.”

Hon. Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication


The Advisory Board is made of experts who guide and advise the Lake Victoria Challenge in its mission

George Mulamula

Dr. George Mulamula is the founder and CEO of the Dar Teknohama (ICT) Business Incubator (DTBi) for entrepreneurship & innovation at the Commission for Science & Technology, the only tech incubator in Tanzania.


He is also the Senior Government Advisor on ICT entrepreneurship and innovation for an enabling environment and ecosystem. Previously he was the first Principal Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in Rwanda, working on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy. He was also the Senior ICT Advisor in the Government of Rwanda and in that capacity, the Lead Policy Advisor on the Rwanda National Information Communication Infrastructure Policy Plan II and WSIS Document preparation. He has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University (Kigali Campus) and has taught at KIST in Kigali, Rwanda.

Solomzi Makohliso

Dr. Solomzi Makohliso is an international entrepreneur with biotechnology industry experience in the United States, Europe and South Africa. His areas of interest include sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and impact investment, particularly in healthcare and green technologies in sub-Saharan Africa.


He is the deputy leader of the EssentialTech Program at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He also serves on the Swiss National Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Science & Technology with Africa, as well as on the boards of various start-up companies in South Africa and Switzerland. Dr. Makohliso holds undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Physics from Rhodes University and Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, a master’s degree in Medical Science from Brown University and a PhD in Biomaterials from EPFL.

Alex Bristol

Alex Bristol is the CEO of skyguide, the air navigation service provider that manages and monitors the Swiss airspace. Prior to joining skyguide, he was with the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) for nearly two decades.


Here Bristol held various functions including General Manager at air traffic control centers across the country, Director of Strategy and Investment, and Director of International Relations. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Exeter and has completed the Advanced Management Programme of INSEAD Fontainebleau and Singapore.

André Borschberg

André Borschberg is a renowned entrepreneur, engineer, and explorer, and co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse. He developed an ardent affection for aviation from a young age, and for 20 years he was a pilot with the Swiss Air Force.


He holds an assortment of professional airplane and helicopter pilot licenses. Fueled by a drive to push technological and human boundaries of the possible, and a persistence to promote sustainable and clean technologies, he co-founded the Solar Impulse project in 2003 with Bertrand Piccard, and successfully piloted the first ever round-the-world solar-powered flight in 2016. In 2018, along with Piccard, Borschberg was jointly awarded the prestigious Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Borschberg holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from EPFL, and a master’s degree in Management Science from MIT.

Temie Giwa

Temie Giwa is the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a platform which enables timely delivery of blood and other high value medical products to hospitals and health centers in Nigeria.


She was named one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2014, one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria for 2017 by YNaija, and one of the “six entrepreneurs who demonstrate the positive role women are playing in creating opportunities and preparing the region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” by the World Economic Forum on Africa. In 2016, Giwa was invited to give a talk at the London-based TEDxEuston Salon event. Her talk was titled “Healthcare is a Right.” Giwa holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Céline Hourcade

Céline Hourcade is a strategic professional with 15+ years of experience in strategy, business development, innovation, project management, stakeholder engagement, marketing and advocacy in the areas of e-business, sustainability and air transport.


She joined IATA in Geneva in 2006 where she worked for several change programs in the area of digital transformation and sustainability. In her current role as Head of Cargo Transformation, Celine drives the StB Cargo program that aims at making air cargo easier, faster and smarter. In the area of Drones/UAS, IATA’s mandate is to support safe, efficient, orderly, reliable, and sustainable high-frequency drone operations into the airspace system. In that context, Celine is specifically looking at the use of “Drones for tomorrow’s air cargo.”

Lenny Koh

Professor S. C. Lenny Koh is a Chair Professor in Operations Management and Director at multiple research centers at the University of Sheffield. She is also the co-founder of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems (SCMIS) Consortium, a global network of leading academic and practitioners driving research and knowledge exchange on supply chain and information systems.



Koh is an internationally renowned authority on supply chain management with a focus on low carbon and sustainability. Her work is multi- and inter- disciplinary, crosses supply chain, information systems, energy, engineering, social science and science disciplines in understanding today’s and future complex supply chain problems induced by climate change and uncertainty. Koh holds a first-class honors degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and a PhD in Operations Management.

Jonathan Ledgard

Jonathan Ledgard is founder of the Rossums studio and inventor of the Redline (blood delivery) and Blueline (heavy commercial delivery) concept for cargo drones in Africa. He developed the first typology of a droneport for the tropics with Lord Norman Foster. He was a director of future Africa at EPFL in Switzerland and served as a longtime foreign and war correspondent for The Economist. Separately, he is a novelist. His last novel, Submergence, a New York Times book of the year, was adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.


His second novel, Submergence, was a New York Times book of the year and is currently being adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.

Lorenzo Murzilli

Lorenzo Murzilli is an aerospace engineer, innovation manager and specialist in aviation, system safety and drones. He is leader of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems WG-6 and Deputy Chair of the Swiss FOCA RPAS Working Group.


As such, he oversees the risk management process and policy of all critical drone operations in Switzerland and works to improve perception of unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide. He is treasurer and executive board member of the Global UTM Association (GUTMA), and is an accredited EASA Project Certification Manager and Expert for Safety Assessment and Development Assurance. He brings his body of knowledge to the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as a guest lecturer.

Min (Timothy) Tian

Min Tian is the CEO of SF Technology and the CTO of SF Express, one of China’s largest logistics service providers which has received the country’s first unmanned aerial vehicle airspace license for commercial drone delivery.



He was invited to speak about smart logistics at the 2017 Tencent Cloud Summit. Prior to SF Express, Tian worked for United Parcel Service of America. He holds a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technologyand a bachelor’s degree from Fudan University.

Harrison Wolf

Harrison Wolf is a leader and author in the field of Unmanned Aerial Robotics (UAVs or Drones) with global expertise in Safety, Security, & Risk Mitigation Strategies. He is Lead for the World Economic Forum’s Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace Initiative.


His latest project, working with the Government of Rwanda, re-imagined the way regulatory oversight can innovate to allow for new approaches to safety; encouraging a user-focused, iterative policy that embraces innovation. Harrison is also working to re-imagine airworthiness certification processes for autonomous flying passenger vehicles, with a deep-dive on machine learning and artificial intelligence based control governance.

Jean-Christophe Zufferey

In 2009, Jean-Christophe Zufferey co-founded senseFly SA, a 140-employee autonomous mapping drone company that simplified the collection and analysis of geospatial data. It quickly became a market leader, used in surveying, agriculture, engineering and humanitarian aid.


Zufferey was CEO of senseFly SA until its sale in 2018. Previously, he taught mobile robotics and managed numerous research projects at EPFL, where he also completed a PhD in Mobile Robotics and for which was awarded the ABB 2006 for Best Thesis. He holds an MSc in Micro Engineering, completed at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Zufferey is also a licensed pilot with a passion for flying helicopters and aerobatics.


The Lake Victoria Challenge is hosted by the Republic of Tanzania, and made possible thanks to support from the following organizations.

Tanzania Airports Authority

The Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) is responsible for the provision of airport services; airport management services; ground support; business planning; airport expansion within Tanzania; construction of airports and airport facilities; and whatever else in entailed in the sustenance of the aviation industry in Tanzania. The Authority operates under the purview of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development.

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA)

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) is the government body that regulates air services and airport services, and provides air navigation services, in Tanzania. The TCAA is responsible for the disposition of aviation safety and for the licensing of aviation personnel. It is also responsible for contributing to the financial oversight of Tanzania’s air infrastructure development; the registration of aircraft; for the investigation of air accidents; for local area search and rescue; and in conjunction with the Tanzania Airports Authority, for the operation of airports and aerodromes.

Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology

Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) is a parastatal organization with the responsibility of coordinating and promoting research and technology development activities in the country. It is the chief advisor to the Government on all matters pertaining to science and technology and their application to the socio-economic development of the country.

Tanzania People’s Defense Force

The Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF) is the armed forces of Tanzania. The TPDF was given a specific mission: to defend Tanzania and everything Tanzanian, especially the people and their political ideology.

Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi)

The Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi) is an independent autonomous entity of COSTECH. It promotes startups with innovative ideas for the growth of ICT technology-based emerging companies and contributing to job creation and enhanced economic health of the nation. DTBi assists early stage ICT companies by lowering the cost of business and increasing the chances of business survival by providing access to shared resources, facilitating access to finance and markets through credible support, guidance and business management, and networking for technical trends and opportunities to access markets.

Danida / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Danida

Danida is the name of Denmark’s international development cooperation. It is an area of activity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Denmark’s development policy aims to fight poverty through promotion of human rights and sustainable economic growth. Denmark has provided official development assistance since the end of World War II. Denmark is one of a few countries that meets the UN target of 0.7 % of GNI in development assistance.

Digital Development Partnership (DDP)

The World Bank’s new Digital Development Partnership (DDP) offers a platform for digital innovation and development financing. It covers core aspects of the digital agenda, such as digital infrastructure, digital platforms and solutions, cybersecurity, digital economy, and the mainstreaming of digital solutions across sectors.

Korea Green Growth Trust Fund

The Korea Green Growth Trust Fund (KGGTF) is a partnership between the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Republic of Korea. As an implementation-focused trust fund that prioritizes the World Bank’s inclusive green growth objectives, this partnership supports countries in their sustainable growth strategies and investments. In addition to funding, the KGGTF enhances other WBG tools and value-added services by providing access to technical experts and facilitating dialogue between practitioners of green growth policies and investments. The KGGTF strengthens and expands the World Bank’s climate smart investment portfolio.

World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private CooperationThe Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

World Food Programme

The World Food Programme is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.


John Snow, Inc., and the nonprofit JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., are public health management consulting and research organizations dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities in the US and around the globe.

JSI’s mission is to improve the health of underserved people and communities and to provide a place where people of passion and commitment can pursue this cause.


AERIAL FUTURES is a non-profit organization exploring innovation in the architecture of flight, technology, and the broader urban mobility ecosystem.


africanDRONE is a South African registered NPO that was founded in early 2018 with the generous support of Code for Africa. africanDRONE’s mission is to support and empower African drone pilots and storytellers.

Tanzania Flying Labs

WeRobotics is co-creating a global network of local knowledge hubs – “Flying Labs”. The goal of Flying Labs is to accelerate the positive impact of local aid, health, development and environmental projects. This is done by sustainably localizing appropriate robotics solutions. Flying Labs also expands local markets by creating new jobs and businesses that offer robotics as a service.