Clean Air for African Cities, With the Help of AI

Pollution & Health



Development of an AI system in Africa that uses real-time data from low-cost, dynamic sensors to predict local pollution levels


Project Facts

Location
Uganda
Kampala

Project Volume
1-5 Mio. EUR

Applied Financing Solutions
Grants, Concessional Loans, Market-Rate Loans, Private Equity, Crowdfunding, Green Bonds, Blended Finance, Guarantees, Public-Private Partnership, Performance Contracting, Results-Based Financing, Carbon Market, In-Kind Contributions, Public Revenues, Other

Project Dates
Start: 2019
In operation since/from: 2021

The Story

AirQo is an initiative that combines human ingenuity, AI models and boxes packed with air monitoring technology to predict pollution patterns in Kampala. Outdoor air pollution contributes to over 4 million deaths worldwide; recent studies found Africa's outdoor air pollution to be more deadly than malnutrition, dirty water or poor sanitation. As part of the ‘AirQo Project’, the Makerere University-based team developed a low cost air quality sensor, which uses cloud-based AI software to analyse air particle data in real time and predict local pollution. The platform then shares predictive data with Kampala’s citizens to empower them to reduce their risk of exposure, as well as with government agencies to inform policy measures to reduce pollution.

Success Factor | Hero Moment

In the beginning, the AirQo team were limited by their cost of placing enough sensors across the large city.  The team had an innovative idea to capture the same footprint: they placed the monitors on motorcycle taxis (“boda bodas”) that criss-cross the city. The team then uses cloud-based AI software to analyze air particle data in real-time and predict local pollution.

Submitter
Google.org, Uganda

Other Involved Stakeholders
Makerere University, Uganda

Contact Mail
baino@mak.ac.ug

Website
www.airqo.africa

Keywords
Digitalisation, Empowerment

Hard Facts
13.613 people are benefitting directly