Starting in 2016, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) started supporting activities related to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for agriculture, mainly in Africa. In 2017 through the CTA supported project, Transforming African Agriculture: Eyes in the Sky, Smart Techs on the Ground”, ICT start-ups in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia were supportedto acquire the capacity to deliver UAS services.
In June 2018, eleven UAS operators met in Ghana during an ‘experience capitalization’ workshop organized by CTA. The companies soon realized the extensive experiences of each of them using ICTs such as phone-based apps, satellite, and drone imagery to provide advisory services to rural farmers in Africa. Some companies also provide services that use ICTs to support conservation efforts in protected areas and help enterprise monitor infrastructures, constructions, and oil and gas operations.
The 11 companies decided to group to form an industry association, Africa Goes Digital (AfGD) that aims at accelerating the digital transformation of the continent. From the initial 11 members, the association now counts 41 members in 21 African countries, most of whom offer drone services. They collaborate in creating an environment that enables the use of digital technologies for development in Africa.
With the support of Ernst & Young’s Ripples Project and TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme, and CTA, and during the Experience Capitalization Workshop held in Cotonou in October 2019, the association formalized its legal existence with its governing bodies. It is now registered as a Non-for-profit Corporation.
AfGD provides its members with free access to a knowledge database, a private group chat, marketing and advisory support, exclusive networking opportunities, alerts on funding opportunities, access to discounted rates on software and hardware, and opportunities to form consortia to pursue business opportunities. The association actively sources funding and business opportunities for its members, encourages collaboration and dialogue, assists in documenting and publishing landmark experiences and ground-breaking solutions. At regular intervals the association runs online surveys among its members to measure growth and performance and collect eventual challenges encountered in the performance of business and takes action to address such challenges.
To support its members, Africa Goes Digital has initiated a Small Grants Program that will facilitate the implementation of initiatives promoting the use of digital tools for good. The maximum amount of these small grants is $1000 and will cover the costs of activities that will boost the visibility and reputation of the member organisations of Africa Goes Digital or any of their ongoing projects.
- Interested members must have applied to be official members of Africa Goes Digital and passed the interview steps for membership by July 7th, 2022.
- Apply here.
- See membership requirements.
- The project must be focused on the use of digital solutions to address development issues in Africa. The target sectors include but are not limited to agriculture, health, education, security, forestry, fisheries, natural resource management, humanitarian work and research.
- Willingness to write a short article to be published on Africa Goes Digital Website.
- Applicants must complete the Small Grants application form after successful membership application