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Yaounde Declaration: Africa’s answer to stop the continent’s mass rural exodus

Representatives from over 30 African countries held discussion about Africa's plan to improve roads, provide education and energy in the rural areas

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In this photo taken June 20, 2016, pedestrians shop at a market in Lagos, Nigeria. Source-VOA
  • Experts from over 30 African countries met in Yaounde, Cameroon, for a Forum on Rural Development
  • During the week-long discussions, they devised a plan to control influx of African migrants taking long and perilous journey to Europe and the US, to find work
  • At the end of the discussions, Experts adopted, The Yaounde declaration, which calls for development in rural areas so that the African youth don’t have to make the dangerous trip to Europe for seeking employment

AFRICA, September 11, 2016: Representatives of 30 African countries have been working this week to map out ways to stop the continent’s mass rural exodus at the Forum on Rural Development in Yaounde.

Emmanuel Afessi works on his desktop at Odja center in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, where he is training 30 youths on information technologies at the center he created when he returned from the United States a year ago.

“Africa needs to produce its own knowledge, its own equipment and that is why we want to train people within the continent,” he said. “ICTs help close the gap between the developed and the developing world much faster than any technology including the motor vehicles. It is a large contributor to most African countries GDPs today. Think about just the whole aspects of internet and mobile phone. That is a huge multi-billion dollar market.”

The 33-year-old Afessi says he was unemployed and fled to Paris and then the United States, where he was denied refugee status. He says he could not find work and decided to return home, sell his father’s piece of land, and open the ICT center.

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Afessi was part of Africa’s rapidly growing population of emigrants. The U.N. Refugee Agency reports estimates this year nearly 47,000 migrants have reached Italy, the vast majority of them Sub-Saharan Africans.

A representative of Kenyan civil society organizations at the Forum on Rural Development, Vitalis Abbasi, says many of the migrants are highly educated, but unemployed and are traveling from rural areas in search of opportunities.

“If the roads were good, the energy systems were well, we could also access information and communication technologies, a lot of people will stay in those areas,” said Abbasi. “We could lift people up in those areas by pulling agriculture production up. So once people get a bit more money in their pockets, it is now easier for the rest of the economy to grow because when a lot of rural people have a bit more money in their pockets, even up to $2 per day average, they start consuming industrial goods, also manufacturing our own goods, rather than always depending on importing.”

Experts from 30 African countries adopted what they call the Yaounde declaration that invites Africa to invest more in the rural areas youths are deserting. They say Africa is losing its trained human capital if current trends continue.

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The head of program implementation at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Estherine Fotabong, says governments should have the political will to create enabling environments for the private sector and civil society groups.

“We still have the majority of Africans living in rural areas, despite the rapid urbanization rates and from different studies the projection is that up to 2035 that will still be the case,” said Fotabong. “We still have most Africans employed in agriculture and we still have lots of land in our rural areas, so why not invest in social amenities, in infrastructure, in better education systems, in industrialization in rural areas so that youths will not see any reason to leave the rural areas to go to the cities.”

The Yaounde declaration is accompanied by a call for action that requests African heads of state to support the implementation of an action plan being developed to stop Africans from having to make the dangerous trip to Europe. (VOA)

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Amazon Web Services To Promote Drone Innovation in India

India currently has nearly 100 drone startups and the autonomous drone aviation industry has great potential ahead

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Amazon Web Services Open Data sets with granularity will let drone developers innovate further and deeper. With industry-leading compute, storage, database, IoT, AI and L, drone developers and operators can now test new ideas quickly, and accelerate innovation. IANS

The Drone Federation of India (DFI) on Monday announced to make Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred Cloud service to boost the development and innovate around the drone ecosystem in the country.

The non-profit industry body will work with retail giant Amazon’s Cloud arm to help provide a scalable, agile and secure Cloud infrastructure for drone manufacturers, application developers and operators to develop drone applications and accelerate time-to-market in India.

“AWS was a natural choice for us which will help drone manufacturers and developers as its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, open data sets and technical prowess are simply unmatched,” Rahat Kulshreshtha, President, DFI, told IANS.

The industry body signed an MoU with AWS at the ‘Drone Festival of India 2020’ here.

The collaboration will identify use cases for drones in India across various application areas such as land survey, precision agriculture, disaster management, and search and rescue missions, and build custom cloud-based solutions.

According to Rahul Sharma, President, India and South Asia Public Sector, Amazon Internet Services Pvt. Ltd (AISPL), verticals like agriculture, healthcare, smart cities etc will see massive drone deployment in months to come.

“AWS Open Data sets with granularity will let drone developers innovate further and deeper. With industry-leading compute, storage, database, IoT, AI and L, drone developers and operators can now test new ideas quickly, and accelerate innovation,” Sharma told IANS.

Amazon
The Drone Federation of India (DFI) on Monday announced to make Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred Cloud service to boost the development and innovate around the drone ecosystem in the country. VOA

India currently has nearly 100 drone startups and the autonomous drone aviation industry has great potential ahead, stressed Kulshreshtha.

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Significant innovation in the drone industry is also happening around vision-based navigation systems, which equip drones with ML and vision-based features like indoor and spatial navigation, to further improve safety in advanced collision avoidance. (IANS)