Photograph — Geek on Gadgets

Upshore Robotics and Global Air Drone Academy from Nigeria have been shortlisted amongst the 10 finalists from other African countries in the first African Drone Business Challenge holding in Kigali Rwanda. 

Initiated by the African Drone Forum (ADF), the business challenge is a competition for African entrepreneurs with the aim to uncover new commercial avenues for drone applications that demonstrates a high potential for local impact in Africa. 

The competition which will hold from February 5-7, 2020, received a pool of about 150 applicants from across 31 African countries. After critical scrutiny by a panel of local and international judges, 10 finalists were selected based on their potential for growth and sustainability, focus on using drones for social good, and economic empowerment in African communities.

The drone industry is fast growing in Africa as a result of emerging applications across a wide range of industries. Upshore Robotics, one of the finalists from Nigeria is a drone and analytics company that helps farmers detect and mitigate crop disease using aerial photosynthetic sensors enabled by artificial intelligence. They also provide farmers with actionable data while incorporating drones to improve and maximize farmer’s crop output in Nigeria.

Similarly, another finalist from Nigeria Global Air Drone Academy (Nigeria’s subsidiary) is committed to building the next generation of professional drone pilots in Nigeria through drone training and education. Licensed by the United States federal aviation administration (FAA), the global air drone academy is devoted to being at the forefront of how drones should be used globally. 

While speaking with regards to the finalists, Yasser El-Gammal Rwanda’s World Bank country manager revealed that the competition will expose African entrepreneurs “to both local and global players within the drone industry.” El-Gammal added that the bank “ is proud to support these promising startups as they gain momentum and continue to push their business ideas forward.”

At a two-day boot camp in Kigali, the finalists will have the opportunity to network, exhibit their works and win a share of £40,000 in prize money sponsored by The UK Department for International Development (UKAID/DfID). With the prize money, Upshore Robotics will be able to extend its reach to farmers and contribute significantly to the production of crops in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Global Air Drone Academy will likewise expand its professional training services and provide first-class drone educational equipment for its current and potential students with the prize money. 

Other finalists include; Africa Bees (Democratic Republic of Congo), JCKEG Solutions (Zambia), Drone Era (Benin),  Kenya Flying Labs (Kenya), Integrated Aerial Systems (South Africa), Jembe Kilimo (Tanzania), Alley Capital Group (Zimbabwe), and MicroMek Limited (Malawi). 

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