There is currently an estimated US$93bn annual shortfall in funding for essential infrastructure in Africa through to 2020, and the risks of delivering aid to some of the most remote and fragile contexts remain great. Could drones, and other robotics, provide an answer to some of these most persistent humanitarian and development challenges?
Drones are just one example of a range of new frontier technologies that “tech for good” advocates claim as potentially paradigm-shifting for developing countries. However, even as sources of investment and knowledge-sharing increase, there remain obstacles and concerns – including issues around regulation, privacy and data protection, health and safety, and public understanding – and critics seek more evidence of cost-effectiveness and more positive engagement with the communities served.
In this special event in partnership with Crown Agents Foundation, RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor discusses how we fulfil the humanitarian promise of technological advance with Tamara Giltsoff, Head of Innovation at the Department for International Development, whose ambition it is to bring tech innovation into day-to-day leadership and delivery of UK aid; and former Africa Correspondent at the Economist, Jonathan Ledgard, whose vision is to transform drones into agents of hope, utilizing the lower skies of African cities under-served by infrastructure networks, to revolutionize cargo delivery for those who need it most. Marie Staunton, Chair of Crown Agents, SOAS and former Chief Executive of Plan International joins the debate to put the case for new partnerships to explore the potential impact of technology for public good.