Njala University, Southern Sierra Leone, Friday 29 November 2019 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has said that his government is indeed proud to launch the first national drone corridor in West Africa and putting innovative technology to the service of Sierra Leone’s development aspirations.
“As I have reiterated, we may be a small nation, but we are doing big things. We believe, as a nation, that we can leapfrog the constraints of history, of infrastructure, and of geography to champion the small things that have a huge impact for our development agenda and to reach the last mile.
The President reiterated that Sierra Leone was an inspired and innovative nation and would continue to embrace technology because of the boundless opportunities it offered to a growing nation. He added that his government was particularly energised about the possibilities of a drone technology that could service primarily the human capital development priorities in free quality education, food security, and quality healthcare and other ancillary development benefits.
“Here is a profile of possibilities: For Agriculture and food security, drone technology can provide a bird’s eye view of a farmer’s crop, help in damming and irrigation pathways, spray fertilisers and insecticides more efficiently, and help in general crop monitoring and management; drone technology can help monitor green cover loss and adequately anticipate general problems related to climate resilience and biodiversity loss as a result of human activity.
“In education, drones offer dynamic experiential learning for students especially in STEAM disciplines and expand the possibilities for teaching new curricula and new disciplines that are critical to national development from waste management, urban planning, to infrastructure management to eco-tourism.
“For healthcare, drones can facilitate the rapid delivery of medical supplies for pregnant women undergoing Postpartum haemorrhage and help stem maternal mortality, vaccines, and life-saving medicines such as a snake-bite serum, or deal with medical emergencies in otherwise inaccessible areas where there may be an outbreak of communicable diseases.
“For disaster management, drones can help with aerial surveying, mapping, and closely examining disaster areas in order to predict and act on possible developments.
“Let me first thank UNICEF, DSTI, Njala University, the Civil Aviation Authority, and citizens of the great Kori Chiefdom for collaborating to establish this seminal national drone corridor,” he said.
Vice Chancellor and Principal of Njala University, Professor Abdallah Mansaray, said that the event was a commemoration of the manifestation of the vision of President Bio and the tremendous strides that had been taken within a short time of the government in harnessing technology for development. He said that his institution was determined to face the challenges and transform itself into an institution that would surmount the challenges of twenty-first-century development.
UNICEF Representative to Sierra Leone, Sulaiman Brimah, commended the government for the successful launch of the corridor, saying that that was an example of a broad bold partnership framework. He said that he was excited to witness the launch of West Africa’s first Drone Corridor that would support social good and improve the situation of children of Sierra Leone.
Minister of Basic and Senior Education and Chief Innovation Officer, Dr David Moinina Sengeh, said that he was pleased that they were using technology to address the challenges of government. He said that the most important thing for them was about the future of learning, research and industry in the country.
Dr Sengeh also urged the administration of Njala University to consider making the University a center of excellence for the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, where students would be able to access research and innovation.
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