Ericsson Weather Data Rwanda will monitor rainfall, in real time, by using existing microwave links in the telecommunication network. This rainfall information will have a number of commercial uses for businesses operating in tropical conditions and emerging markets, particularly those working in agriculture, insurance and public planning. The system will be piloted in Rwanda where its capabilities and accuracy will be tested, with a view to improving the algorithm for rain detection and expanding its use into other areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. A variety of market opportunities will also be researched.
Ericsson are leading the project. SMHI and RMA will collaborate on the collection and evaluation of conventional rainfall data to compare with the microwave data and develop and refine accurate algorithms. Airtel Rwanda will provide access to the microwave infrastructure for the project.
The project aims to bring benefits to a large number of Rwandan people, including farmers, those involved in tourism and insurance customers. Providing public and private organisations with better knowledge of historic rainfall will mean that rainfall forecasting and infrastructure planning capability can be improved. The project will also develop local capacity in meteorological institutions.
The BPF is supporting this project by providing a financial grant of £291,000 over 13 months to support the work led by Ericsson, SMHI and RMA to contextualise the technology in Rwanda.