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Modernizing African agriculture: Tunisia’s drone project shows the way
A workshop in Tunis organised by the African Development Bank last week followed on the heels of on a pilot project on the use of drones to boost agricultural productivity in Sidi Bouzid, in the central region of Tunisia.
The aim of the workshop was to share knowledge and best practices for the introduction of drones in agriculture, drawing on the experience of the pilot project, with more than 150 participants from the public and private sectors.
"This pilot project will truly increase the capability of the African agricultural sector, which can now cope with even greater challenges in a more efficient and effective way, The Bank is determined that this successful cooperation with Tunisia and South Korea will benefit to the rest of the continent." said Yacine Diama Fal, Deputy Director General of the African Development Bank for the North Africa Region.
The Bank's Senior Special Advisor to the President on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, said: "the use of new technologies with drone deployment is an important turning point for African agriculture".
He added: "The results obtained are very encouraging because it is now possible to accurately anticipate the level of agricultural production and greatly enhance the resilience of crops to diseases, droughts or floods".
Samir Taieb, Tunisian Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, commented: "Thanks to this project, Tunisia has entered the era of the 4th industrial revolution. It is a success for Tunisia and a success for the entire African continent. And that's why we will, alongside our partners, South Korea and the African Development Bank, launch a regional centre of excellence for the training of new drone pilots ".
Th project was initiated by the African Development Bank in consultation with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture. Partnership with the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Trust Fund enabled the Bank to mobilize the resources and technologies necessary for its success.
The implementation of the pilot project was entrusted to Busan Techno Park, a South Korean government agency, with proven experience in the use of drones. South Korea is one of the world leaders in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for real-time data collection and processing.
"This successful tripartite cooperation comes at a symbolic moment when South Korea and Tunisia celebrate the 50th anniversary of their partnership. South Korea is fully committed to supporting the development of the continent.” said Cho Koo Rae, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Tunisia.
President of the Busan Techno Park, Jong-Yeol Choi, remarked, "The potential for using drones is limitless. In partnership with the African Development Bank, Busan Techno Park is determined to further strengthen economic and technical cooperation with Tunisia and beyond in Africa."
At the opening of the workshop, the potential for the transfer of technologies and know-how related to drones was highlighted; as well as prospects for their application in other African countries and to other sectors, such as transport and urban development.
The business opportunities offered to African start-ups and young entrepreneurs were also the subject of discussion.
An exhibition showcasing the technologies of the drones used, as well as the techniques of interpretation of the data collected, was also held.
Some 40 Tunisian drone pilots have now successfully completed training, four of whom have been trained as trainers. Khaoula Abrougui, one of the beneficiaries of the training said: “Thank you to the Ministry of Agriculture, the African Development Bank and our South Korean partners for allowing us to benefit from this transfer of know-how, which opened up new perspectives and opportunities not only in Tunisia, but also in Africa."
The partnership between the African Development Bank and Tunisia has covered the energy, water, transport, agriculture, social development and information and communication technology sectors, spanning half a century.
El Khili Lhoucine, Chief Regional IT Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Fahd Belbachir, Chargé supérieur des relations extérieures et de la communication