The Lake Victoria Challenge was the first event of its kind in Africa

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) asked what could happen if Africa could unlock the lower skies as a resource for mobility. This unique event explored the emerging transportation technologies that can leapfrog Africa’s infrastructure deficit and address the continent’s infrastructure, public health and mobility challenges with a visionary, safe and scalable solution.



The inaugural Lake Victoria Challenge event took take place in the form of a symposium, expo, flying competition and a range of networking events. An international gathering of key government and regulatory stakeholders with global and local innovators, investors, businesses and media, the event aimed to propel the use of drones and other aerial technologies for positive economic and social impact. Demonstrating potential use cases for the region, this multi-year stakeholder engagement program asked: what will the future of mobility look like?

An innovative solution where it is needed most

Conventional transport infrastructure (notably road and rail) is prohibitively expensive in Africa, and only 34% of Africa’s population are within 2 km of an all-weather road. This is partly an issue of budget: In order to sustain current levels of development, the continent needs to spend $38 billion more each year on infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations.

Drones offer a starting point for radically rethinking the region’s mobility, lowering the price of transportation per kilo per kilometer to a minimum. In pioneering the development of an economically viable and secure droneport, the Lake Victoria Challenge is an advocate for ideas that can be adopted throughout Africa and the rest of the world.

A laboratory for real-world testing

Mwanza’s drone corridor is nestled between military airspace and large, hard-to-reach communities, making the Lake Victoria Challenge ideal for the rehearsal of operations and risk assessment.

The Lake Victoria Challenge was the first program to integrate drones into the full ecology of the supply chain, and is connected to existing maintenance, operations, users, community and government.

Opportunities for growth

As a project initiated by the local government, the Lake Victoria Challenge received unprecedented support in building frameworks that can transition into real-life business opportunities. It empowered local stakeholders by creating a self-sustaining industry for many years to come.

The value of prospective drone applications for global infrastructure projects is estimated at $44.2 billion, and prospective drone industry applications globally are valued at $127.3 billion. Key industries include infrastructure, delivery and e-commerce, agriculture, mobility and logistics, energy, public safety and security, entertainment, insurance, mining and construction and telecommunications.


Mwanza Region is located in the extreme northern quarter of mainland Tanzania, bordering Lake Victoria, and includes more than 86 inhabited islands in Lake Victoria. The population of Mwanza is 2.7 million, which is second only to the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, making it one of the highest rural population densities in the world.

This means that there is a vast medical supply network that is ready for revitalization. Mwanza Region has 286 health facilities, and all public sector facilities receive supplies from the Medical Stores Department in Mwanza city. Bugando Medical Centre, also located in Mwanza city, is a referral, consultant and university teaching hospital for the Lake and Western zones and serves a catchment population of over 14 million people. Laboratory samples (including viral load samples and dried blood spots) that are collected by health facilities must be sent and tested at Bugando Medical Centre. The vision is to connect the facilities in Mwanza City with the hard-to-reach facilities in the region using drone cargo transports and droneport infrastructure.


Africa has some of the most densely populated rural regions in the world, with 50% of its population expected to be in cities within 25 years. Roughly 51% of Africa’s population is under the age of 19, and it’s estimated that fewer than 70% of the population will attain salaried jobs upon reaching adulthood. In improving access to technology and entrepreneurship, and developing Mwanza as an innovation hub, African youth can build their own futures in the face of employment scarcity. In creating new aerial infrastructure, the Lake Victoria Challenge is developing an emerging economy for an African tomorrow.


Regional Commissioner’s Office, Mwanza

The Lake Victoria Challenge is made possible through the directive and generous support of the Regional Commissioner’s Office of Mwanza, Tanzania.

“The Lake Victoria Challenge is a catalyst for digital innovation in Mwanza and Tanzania that will lead to job creation for youth and impact industrialization while laying an enabling environment foundation for sustainable infrastructure.”

Hon. John Mongella, Regional Commissioner of Mwanza

“The Government of Tanzania, and especially my Ministry, supports this program and wishes it success.”

Hon. Ummy Ally Mwalimu, Minister of Health and Social Welfare

“There is a big advantage in using a technology like drones, it can be faster, cheaper and smarter.”

Hon. Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication


George Mulamula

Dr. George Mulamula is the CEO and founder of Technovate Advisory Services (TAS) dedicated to bringing about digital innovations and sustainable economic development with Regional and Local Government Authorities. He is also the Senior Government Advisor on ICT entrepreneurship and innovation for an enabling environment and eco-system.


Prior to that, he was the founder and CEO of the Dar Teknohama (ICT) Business Incubator (DTBi) for entrepreneurship & innovation at the Commission for Science & Technology, the only tech incubator in Tanzania. He was also the first Principal Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in Rwanda, working on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy, and the Senior ICT Advisor in the Government of Rwanda and in that capacity, the Lead Policy Advisor on the Rwanda National Information Communication Infrastructure Policy Plan II and WSIS Document preparation. He has also been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University (Kigali Campus) and has taught at KIST in Kigali, Rwanda.

Solomzi Makohliso

Dr. Solomzi Makohliso is an international entrepreneur with biotechnology industry experience in the United States, Europe and South Africa. His areas of interest include sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and impact investment, particularly in healthcare and green technologies in sub-Saharan Africa.


He is the deputy leader of the EssentialTech Program at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He also serves on the Swiss National Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Science & Technology with Africa, as well as on the boards of various start-up companies in South Africa and Switzerland. Dr. Makohliso holds undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Physics from Rhodes University and Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, a master’s degree in Medical Science from Brown University and a PhD in Biomaterials from EPFL.

Alex Bristol

Alex Bristol is the CEO of skyguide, the air navigation service provider that manages and monitors the Swiss airspace. Prior to joining skyguide, he was with the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) for nearly two decades.


Here Bristol held various functions including General Manager at air traffic control centers across the country, Director of Strategy and Investment, and Director of International Relations. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Exeter and has completed the Advanced Management Programme of INSEAD Fontainebleau and Singapore.

André Borschberg

André Borschberg is a renowned entrepreneur, engineer, and explorer, and co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse. He developed an ardent affection for aviation from a young age, and for 20 years he was a pilot with the Swiss Air Force.

Temie Giwa

Temie Giwa is the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a platform which enables timely delivery of blood and other high value medical products to hospitals and health centers in Nigeria.


She was named one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2014, one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria for 2017 by YNaija, and one of the “six entrepreneurs who demonstrate the positive role women are playing in creating opportunities and preparing the region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” by the World Economic Forum on Africa. In 2016, Giwa was invited to give a talk at the London-based TEDxEuston Salon event. Her talk was titled “Healthcare is a Right.” Giwa holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Céline Hourcade

Céline Hourcade is a strategic professional with 15+ years of experience in strategy, business development, innovation, project management, stakeholder engagement, marketing and advocacy in the areas of e-business, sustainability and air transport.


She joined IATA in Geneva in 2006 where she worked for several change programs in the area of digital transformation and sustainability. In her current role as Head of Cargo Transformation, Celine drives the StB Cargo program that aims at making air cargo easier, faster and smarter. In the area of Drones/UAS, IATA’s mandate is to support safe, efficient, orderly, reliable, and sustainable high-frequency drone operations into the airspace system. In that context, Celine is specifically looking at the use of “Drones for tomorrow’s air cargo.”

Lenny Koh

Professor S. C. Lenny Koh is a Chair Professor in Operations Management and Director at multiple research centers at the University of Sheffield. She is also the co-founder of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems (SCMIS) Consortium, a global network of leading academic and practitioners driving research and knowledge exchange on supply chain and information systems.



Koh is an internationally renowned authority on supply chain management with a focus on low carbon and sustainability. Her work is multi- and inter- disciplinary, crosses supply chain, information systems, energy, engineering, social science and science disciplines in understanding today’s and future complex supply chain problems induced by climate change and uncertainty. Koh holds a first-class honors degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, and a PhD in Operations Management.

Jonathan Ledgard

Jonathan Ledgard is founder of the Rossums studio and inventor of the Redline (blood delivery) and Blueline (heavy commercial delivery) concept for cargo drones in Africa. He developed the first typology of a droneport for the tropics with Lord Norman Foster. He was a director of future Africa at EPFL in Switzerland and served as a longtime foreign and war correspondent for The Economist. Separately, he is a novelist. His last novel, Submergence, a New York Times book of the year, was adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.

Lorenzo Murzilli

Lorenzo Murzilli is an aerospace engineer, innovation manager and specialist in aviation, system safety and drones. He is leader of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems WG-6 and Deputy Chair of the Swiss FOCA RPAS Working Group.


As such, he oversees the risk management process and policy of all critical drone operations in Switzerland and works to improve perception of unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide. He is treasurer and executive board member of the Global UTM Association (GUTMA), and is an accredited EASA Project Certification Manager and Expert for Safety Assessment and Development Assurance. He brings his body of knowledge to the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as a guest lecturer.

Min (Timothy) Tian

Min Tian is the CEO of SF Technology and the CTO of SF Express, one of China’s largest logistics service providers which has received the country’s first unmanned aerial vehicle airspace license for commercial drone delivery.



He was invited to speak about smart logistics at the 2017 Tencent Cloud Summit. Prior to SF Express, Tian worked for United Parcel Service of America. He holds a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technologyand a bachelor’s degree from Fudan University.

Harrison Wolf

Harrison Wolf is a leader and author in the field of Unmanned Aerial Robotics (UAVs or Drones) with global expertise in Safety, Security, & Risk Mitigation Strategies. He is Lead for the World Economic Forum’s Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace Initiative.

Jean-Christophe Zufferey

In 2009, Jean-Christophe Zufferey co-founded senseFly SA, a 140-employee autonomous mapping drone company that simplified the collection and analysis of geospatial data. It quickly became a market leader, used in surveying, agriculture, engineering and humanitarian aid.<

LVC 2018 Trial and Symposium: program and presentations

Mwanza, Tanzania October 29-31, 2018

Advancements in Digital Fabrication and Robotics

William Maluki

Drones in the Lower Skies

Jonathan Ledgard


Judith Sherman & Dr. Michael Scheibenreif

Drones in Rwanda

Wilson Kagabo

Mobile 360 Africa

Dr. George Mulamula


Helena Samsioe

Medical Stores Department

Laurean Bwanakunu

Medical Commodities Deliver by AAVs

Matiko Machagge

From Drone Mapping to Drone Delivery

Jean-Christophe Zufferey

Local Manufacturing for Better Aid

Ben Savonen

Logistics of Drone Delivery

Dirk Rabien

Village Reach

Dr. Olivier Defawe

Towards Unified Traffic Management

Ayhan Kamil

Low Altitude Air Traffic Data for Safe Drone Flights

Manu Lubrano

The Future of Unmanned Traffic Management, Applied Today

Marc Coen

Building a Safe & Sustainable Drone Ecosystem

Robert Chicourrat

Rwanda's UAS Regulations

Andrew Mutabaruka

How ATC Interacts with RPAs Operating in Malawi

Chikondi Chadza

WFP Aviation

Cliff Sweatte

Drones and Tomorrow's Airspace

Harrison Wolf

Leveraging UAS in Humanitarian Activities

Philip Dawson

MSF Cargo UAVs - Last Mile Delivery

Oriol López

Heavy Lift Session

Kush Gadhia


Dan Czerwonka

Droneport Guidelines


LVC 2019 - What's Next

Edward Anderson

Photos from 2018

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3