The Guardian (Nigeria)
Experts advocate use of drones for development programmes
DEVELOPMENT experts have urged the Federal Government to deploy frontier technologies such as drones for last mile logistics, aerial assessment, mapping, agriculture and smart solar.
The experts including the Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Parminder Vir; Founder, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVAID) ‘drone’ technology, Daniel Ronen; and the Chair, Crown Agents, Mrs Marie Staunton, made the call while speaking on how new technologies can be harnessed for good, humanitarian and development purposes.
The event was organised at Baze University, Abuja, by U.k.-based Crown Agents, a high impact social enterprise and international development company.
In a keynote on: “Application of frontier technology in development,”
Staunton noted that poverty cannot be eradicated in a single swoop, but needs time and deployment of multiple technology mix. She stressed the need for prompt information and quick deployment of technology in Nigeria, such as drones in delivering humanitarian services and intervention in remote areas, crisis situation, geographically challenged areas, and agriculture.
She however advised that before such technology can be deployed, government must clarify the purposes of its use, ensure transparency, accountability, and acceptance by the public.
The Crown Agents Country Director, Jiru Bako, maintained that drones are not only used for security missions but also for developmental purposes such as fast deliveries of drugs, agriculture products, and spraying of fertiliser and insecticides on farm lands.
He urged the federal government to create the enabling environment for easy use of drones by enacting policies, and ensuring that the executors do so with sincerity. He advocated that the private sector should be allowed to drive the process, and advised that government should not be involved in the manufacturing or procurement of drones in order to achieve successful utilisation.
Also Vir speaking on: “Technology as a driver of economic innovation and entrepreneurship,” identified technology as an enabling tool for building entrepreneurs.
She maintained that in Africa, agriculture remains the largest sector with job creating opportunities through its value chain. Contributing on the panel discussion on drones, Ronen noted that ‘ drone’ technology specifically optimises International Development and Disaster Response applications in resource poor settings, said that about 10 million preventable deaths could be achieved each year through the use of drones for planned and emergency supplies, and humanitarian disaster response. He argued that the use of drones would save cost by eliminating traditional measures, and achieving direct savings on supply chains and time.