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AVI Afrique Demos Unmanned Aerial Vehicle



By peter oluka

The recent AVI Afrique Africa Innovation Summit held at CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria once again featured as the leading aviation event in South Africa, attracting hundreds of delegates from all over the continent and beyond.

Under the theme “In Africa. For Africa. By Africa”, the summit facilitated a platform for the African aviation industry to engage around innovation and improvements in the industry and acted as an exploratory infrastructure development tool for the participation of small and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the aviation market across the continent.

“Collaboration throughout Africa, to ensure a sustainable market, is the key focus of this event,” said Thabani Mthiyane, CEO of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), hosts of the summit.

Global overview of safety

Barry Kashambo, regional director ICAO Eastern and Southern African Office, was the guest speaker on the first day.

He has been in the international civil aviation community for over 30 years and comes from a background of aircraft maintenance engineering and flight safety standards. Kashambo has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority in Uganda as an Airworthiness surveyor/Inspector and Accident Investigator for 21 years. He has also served as an aviation safety officer for the UN MONUSCO, performing oversight and accident/incident investigation for the biggest UN fleet, at that time.

His experience in the sector, coupled with the various positions held across the globe, enabled Kashambo to give a worldly view on the sector and how to ensure valuable, consistent development.

Upper airspace panel discussion

“ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ campaign: Effective implementation of Safety, Security, Infrastructure Development, Technology Innovation and Environmental Sustainability was discussed at length. The panelist looked at what can be done to harmonise the effectiveness of this objective by the States and/or Air Navigation Service Providers.

Top award for UAV

Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) sponsored the AVI Awards for 2017. At the evening awards function, Mark Van Wyk walked away with the top Innovation Award, renamed the OR Tambo Cumulus Award, for his prototype UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that will become the first hydrogen powered aircraft, fully developed in South Africa.

Van Wyk, founder of the company FlyH2 Aerospace and his partner, OnnoHuyser, are developing a large, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft for survey and environmental research purposes. The aircraft will be powered by novel miniaturised hydrogen fuel cells designed, prototyped and trialled by TIA seed fund recipients at the University of Cape Town, HySA Catalysis.

Innovator in STEM

On day two, delegates listened to Soweto-born Mr Nthatho Moagi, a young emerging innovator who designed a Low Cost Educational Robotics Toy (LCERT) kit developed to provide learners and educators wit affordable access to educational resources in their Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) classrooms. His company, CRSP design, was established to commercialise his invention. Named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans of 2017, Moagi is highly focused on empowering SMMEs in the innovation sector.

Black Hornet launch

As the summit ended, the world’s smallest, most capable personal reconnaissance system, the Black Hornet, was launched by Desert Wolf Consulting.

The drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is an American military equipment aircraft that can fly without a pilot, relying solely on its autonomy which allows for it to be controlled by remote control or by a human operator. The Black Hornet’s small size and electric motors makes it virtually inaudible and invisible once airborne.

The system will be only available to military, police and government clients in South Africa, with local support and training. South Africa’s first female military drone instructor, trained by the manufacturer in Norway, is already training another Black Hornet pilot in South Africa.

At 18 grams, the Black Hornet is inherently safe, organic and covert. Despite its small size, the Black Hornet provides live motion video and snapshots back to the operator. The system can be delivered with both day/ lowlight and night vision cameras, covering a 24/7 operational requirement.

“There is no doubt that innovation within the aviation sector is of utmost importance, not only to ensure competitiveness across the sector, but also to enhance and advance the industry with a focus on safety and security. As the transport of people and cargo across countries, continents and time zones becomes increasingly complex, airlines, airport owners, operators and investors are challenged to adapt and provide efficient aviation solutions,” continues Mthiyane

“This event was again a resounding success and it was important that we gathered some of the greatest minds to engage on how we could work together to elevate the African aviation market and ensure the participation of African SMMEs on this journey,”concludes Mthiyane.


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NIPOST Emerges in Final Selection of World Summit on Information Society Award



The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has been selected as one of 90 finalists of the annual World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Prizes contest.

Mr Francklin Alao, the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the agency made this known on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Alao, WSIS is a global initiative recognising innovative projects that use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to better the world.

He said the finalists known as WSIS champions represent the top 90 projects selected from 492 nominated projects around the world.

“The project that won NIPOST the finalist place is the NIPOST Address Verification System (NIPOST AVS), which seeks to create a centralised and up-to-date database of physical addresses and details of their occupants.

“It is aimed at bridging the gap in our national financial inclusion strategy to empower the CBN’s Know Your Customer (KYC) and improve our national security infrastructure while creating hundreds of jobs in a commercial manner.

“This is one of the new projects created by the organisation to impact on more Nigerians, especially at the rural level and we hope to come out as a winner of one of the 18 prizes at the end of the summit,’’ he said.

Alao said the WSIS Prizes 2018 edition is the 15th edition and will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on the March 20.

The general manager said the prestigious award started since 2012. “It has been recognising remarkable efforts made by entities and organisations from around the world that focus on accelerating socio-economic progress of the whole world as a community,’’ he said.

WSIS champions represent all regions of the world and all stakeholders that deploy ICT to implement WSIS Action Lines and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a two-tier United Nations sponsored summit on information, communication and information society.

It aims to bridge the global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries by spreading access to the internet in the developing world.

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FAAN to begin Certification of 4 International Airports



The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it has begun the process of certifying the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kaduna International Airport, Port-Harcourt International Airport and Akanu Ibiam International Airports, Enugu.

This is coming on the heel of a similar exercise carried out in 2017 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, made this known on Tuesday at the Gateway Forum organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos.

Dunoma said that FAAN was carrying out the certification process in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He said that the exercise would be completed by the middle of 2018.

Dunoma said that the current drive toward the certification of Nigerian airports was very significant.

“It is not only as a requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, but even more importantly as one of the critical safety targets of the Abuja Ministerial Declaration.

“Very soon, we will certify all the international airports and then, we will focus on the domestic airports.

“All our airports will be certified within a given time frame,” Dunoma said.

He said that FAAN would continue to emphasise the need for safety and security of passengers as well as their comfort at the airports.

Dunoma added that additional patrol vehicles had been deployed for surveillance at the Lagos Airport.

He also said that Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras were being installed at the Abuja and Lagos Airports to monitor activities at all the restricted areas.

He said: “By the time we have all these technology in place, the security will be very tight and no unauthorised person will be able to gain access to these restricted areas.”

The FAAN managing director said that the authority would soon procure sophisticated scanners with capacity to detect any contraband item in a passenger’s baggage.

“What we are currently using at the airports now are scanners that can detect when something is not right in a baggage.

“The security personnel can then focus it on the particular place and if he is not satisfied, he can carry out a manual check.

“But, technology is improving and we are thinking of bringing in sophisticated equipment that can detect anything and very soon, we will get this equipment at our airports,’’ Dunoma said.

He said work had also been intensified in the ongoing construction of terminal buildings at the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports, adding that the projects would soon be completed.

On debts being owed FAAN by domestic airlines and concessionaires, Dunoma said that the agency had worked out payment plans with each of the indebted airlines to clear the backlog of their indebtedness.

He said: “As long as we continue to do business, there will be debts.

“So, you cannot say no airline is owing FAAN. We normally give them grace of two weeks as a policy, because it is a continuous business.

“We came up with a programme of payment which was agreed to by all parties, and this is what we have been doing because we don’t want to put them out of business.”

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FG to auction N70bn bonds on March 21 – DMO



The Federal Government has offered for subscription by auction N70 billion worth of bonds in its March 21 auction, says the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The offer circular obtained from its website on Tuesday in Abuja, said that it would sell N10 billion of a five year re-opening bond maturing in July 2021 at 14.50 per cent.

It would also sell N30 billion seven year new issue to mature in March 202, at an undisclosed interest rate and another N30 billion 10 year re-opening at 13.98 per cent to mature in Feb. 2028.

Nigeria issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.

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