The Africa Innovation Summit is a culmination of ideas synergized after consultation among leading African academics, researchers, thinkers, business people, youth representatives, innovators, and policymakers.
Building on the progress of the first African Economic Summit on Drones in Rwanda
In 2018, The African Economic Summit presented a report titled “Drones on the Horizon.” The presentation happened in Kigali, Rwanda, and aimed at promoting the continent’s innovative potential.
This initiative took a multi-sector approach that aspired to involve every sector of the economy.
The report was publicly unveiled by Prof Yaye Kène-Gassama Dia and University Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar, at the colorful Africa Innovation Summit.
The 44-page report is available in both French and English.
Building onto the AU 2063 agenda, which is the 50-year plan aimed at identifying and utilizing the continent’s comparative advantage in delivering a shared common vision, the AU thus set up NEPAD in 2010 as a strategic platform for African countries to cooperate in achieving socio-economic development. NEPAD manages projects in four major portfolios: Youth and skills development, Natural Resource Governance, Infrastructure, Trade & Industrialization, and Science, Technology & Innovation.
The project gave a keen focus on the use of drone technology in enhancing agricultural productivity. They coined a new term, drones for precision agriculture. That means drones involved in data collection through surveying, inspection monitoring, cargo delivery, surveillance, scientific research, crop damage assessment and management of insurance and agricultural assets.
A common challenge that arose from the meeting was the need for translating the data acquired from the drones into information that can be of use to farmers. Information is actionable, unlike data that is complex and incomprehensible to the masses.
Challenges facing the adoption of Drone Technology in Africa
The deployment of drone technology is mired by challenges that can be summed up into economic, technological, legal and regulatory. Besides, investing in UAS for large monoculture farming makes sense, but what about the majority of the small scale farmers who carry out multi-crop farming?
The demand for technical expertise which is a skilled workforce capable of planning itineraries, operating GIS and data analysis software, piloting the UAVs, data interpretation and presentation, and providing spatial planning advice. Social challenges present are security, privacy, data acquisition, storage, and management. Included too is the risk of causing harm to animals, and damaging property.