US-based energy research organization, the Rockefeller Foundation has partnered with the Electricity Growth and Use in Developing Economies (e-GUIDE) and predictive analytics platform, Atlas AI, to help sub-Saharan African countries address the looming green infrastructure investment gap and accelerate climate action initiatives.
The three parties will invest $5.5 million to promote climate resilience and strengthen economic growth through the use of next-generation digital tools over a period of three years in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda.
Utilizing satellite data and machine learning technologies, the three organizations will develop a digital platform which they will leverage to help communities to conduct research and development, and the implementation of climate-friendly agriculture, energy and transportation solutions and infrastructure.
Data generated will be analyzed and used to provide policymakers, investors and service providers with recommendations regarding new infrastructure development that can help mitigate community vulnerabilities and promote investments opportunities for economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Zia Khan, Senior Vice President of Innovation at The Rockefeller Foundation, said “While data science has been used to improve individual development projects, we haven’t yet unlocked its potential to improve development at a systems level — which is critical, because efforts to drive change in energy, agriculture, and transportation must be integrated in order to make opportunity universal and sustainable.”
Jay Taneja, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst, and principal investigator on the project, added that “We want to develop tools to measure how infrastructural developments such as roads, electricity systems, and agriculture lead to economic development. We want to understand which combinations result in the most extensive and fastest economic development, primarily in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The platforms set to be developed will help measure challenges such as electricity consumption, carbon emissions, the performance of staple crops, wealth accumulation of households, the pace of electrification, climate change and transportation infrastructure.