Andrew Rugege, director for Africa at the ITU, said that both natural and man-made disasters can be effectively controlled by the power of ICTs. Improved and sustainable in Africa holds the key to effective mitigation of disastrous effects of climate change across the continent. By Xinhua

Rwandan drone operators prepare a crop monitoring drone in Musanze district, Northern Rwanda. A union of organizations on Wednesday launched an aerial drone to gather vital agricultural information for Irish potato farmers in Northern Rwanda. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project (PSDAG) is partnering with AgriLift, a Rwanda-based information technology company to pilot the drone-based crop monitoring technology.
Improved and sustainable information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Africa holds the key to effective mitigation of disastrous effects of climate change across the continent, experts have said.
Andrew Rugege, regional director for Africa at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for telecom, told reporters Saturday that both natural and man-made disasters can be effectively controlled by the power of ICTs.
He was in Rwanda to attend Regional Development ICT Forum for Africa, ahead of the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"Information and communication technologies, such as satellites, mobile phones or the Internet, play a key role in addressing the major challenges related with climate change," he said.
Rugege called on African economies to embrace ICTs to be able to monitor climate change, mitigate and adapt to its effects and assisting in the transition towards a green economy.
According to ITU, ICTs including remote sensing and geographic information systems have expanded the possibilities for risk assessment of multiple hazards and enabled the development of various scenarios and contingency plans.
Sub-Saharan Africa is at risk of the disastrous effects of climate change due to desertification and increased pressure on sources of fresh water by human settlement.
Technology analysts say that adequate telecommunication networks are essential in ensuring that communications reach people and the appropriate relief organizations.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s minister of youth and ICT, said that there was a need for a ‘Call to Action’ for African leaders to recognize the role of ICTs in tackling climate change and to enhance their ability to do so.
"The challenge today in Africa is to move forward and look to ICTs as a key enabler of a new model of social and economic development," he said.
Countries in Africa need to take advantage of ICT to drive social and economic transformation, according to an 2015 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The report said several countries in Africa including economic giants like Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt are lagging behind in terms of implementing and taking advantage of ICT.
According to experts, most African countries face a significant challenge in developing infrastructure, institutions and skills needed to fully enjoy the benefits of ICT, despite the continent having a very high penetration of mobile phones.