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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.

 

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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.

WHY LAKE VICTORIA?

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.

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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.

GOVERNMENT OF TANZANIA

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