How tech is powering sustainable development in Africa

Despite being the world’s lowest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Despite emitting only 3.8 per cent, compared to China’s 23 per cent and the United States' 19 per cent, Africa is the continent most vulnerable to climate change.

Countries such as Kenya, which is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, and Nigeria, which has lost 600 lives in the worst flooding in a decade, are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis

The World Bank estimates that nearly 282 million Africans are malnourished due to drought, environmental degradation, and displacement. Each flood or drought cuts food security by between five and 20 per cent, and Africa’s food import bill could hit $110 billion (Sh13.6 trillion) by 2025 unless significant change is implemented through climate-resilient farming.

Floods, heatwaves, and droughts endanger the livelihoods and lives of one-sixth of the world’s population.

With agriculture providing 70 per cent of Africa’s livelihoods, governments and organisations must collaborate to find innovative solutions to precision farming using advanced technologies to revolutionise food production and help eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa.

African countries must adapt to unpredictable conditions by improving resource management such as water management, and implementing sustainable practices in industries such as agriculture and energy.

Digitalisation is critical to sustainability. Embracing technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, the cloud, and the internet of things (IoT) has the potential to transform the continent’s present – and future.

To successfully address food security and climate change challenges, food and agriculture must become climate-smart. Agricultural technological advancements will help meet the growing demand for farm automation, digitisation, and sustainability.

Tech firms play a key role in assisting partners across Africa to embrace and leverage the power of digitalisation. Microsoft, for example, is a founding participant in The Carbon Call, an initiative that uses data streams, and cloud computing to improve the measurement, reporting, and verification of corporate GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.

Microsoft is also working to bridge the climate gap by expanding its AI for Good Research Lab into Egypt and Kenya.

This will revolutionise food production and eradicate hunger and poverty.

The writer is Microsoft Kenya country manager