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  • Life Lines at Lake Victoria A communications project executed by

    Zain, Ericsson and GSMA Development Fund

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    ContEntS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    EXECUtIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    tHE LAKE VICtoRIA PRoJECt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    ContEXt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    PRoJECt DESCRIPtIon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    BACKGRoUnD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    IMPLEMEntAtIon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    SUMMARY AnD RECoMMEnDAtIonS . . . . . . . 10

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    The Lake Victoria Project is a joint project between

    the Zain Group, Ericsson and the GSMA Development

    Fund implemented in conjunction with the National

    Lake Rescue Institute (NLRI). The primary aim of the

    project is to enable improved safety on Lake Victoria

    but it will also play a major role in fostering economic

    growth in the Lake Victoria basin. The project covers

    the three East African countries Kenya, Tanzania and

    Uganda. The Project was based on the East African

    Community (EAC) finding, that a self-sustaining GSM

    based maritime communication solution would be the

    optimal technology to implement. The Lake Victoria

    Project includes extending the mobile network coverage

    of the three East African States and delivering a proof of

    concept for a safety and security initiative. The coverage

    will comprise the area of the lake where 80 percent of

    fishing activities take place, allowing communication and

    SMS exchange to and from phones.

    MAIn ACHIEVEMEntS: • An extension to Zain’s existing telecom

    infrastructure, by installing an additional 21 new

    mobile sites in Uganda and Tanzania. The coverage

    comprises the area of the lake where 80 percent

    of fishing activities take place and the majority of

    navigation-related accidents occur.

    • Ericsson hybrid- and solar solutions are being used

    where access to the electricity grid is limited or

    nonexistent. These solutions use a special battery

    that can take an increased number of charges,

    cutting diesel consumption by 50 percent and

    resulting in smaller environmental footprint and

    reduced costs.

    • Data connectivity using EDGE technology allows

    implementation of Value Added Services, such as

    e-mail, money transfer and market billboards.

    • A mobile network equipped with Ericsson Mobile

    Positioning system enables the location of

    emergency calls, to support Search and Rescue

    services (SAR).

    • A 110 rescue number reserved for Lake Victoria

    Maritime emergency communication. An

    Emergency Command and Control product from

    Ericsson was deployed to handle emergency


    • A Search and Rescue service model tailored for the

    Great Lakes region developed and tested by the

    National Lake Rescue Institute (NLRI).

    SUPPoRtED AREAS: • An education and accident prevention program

    used at the fish landing sites reducing accidents on

    the lake.

    • A life vest designed and manufactured using local

    material only. It is cheaper and more reliable than

    imported models, which is a key factor for it to be


    • A cost effective model providing Safety, Health,

    Communication, Banking, Environmental and

    Resource Management at the Lake Victoria.

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    tHE LAKE VICtoRIA PRoJECt ContEXt Lake Victoria, which covers an area of approximately

    68,800 km, has 3,700 km of coast line and includes

    numerous islands, of which about 200 are inhabited.

    Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world with

    nearly 200,000 fishermen and 35 million people living

    along its borders. Over 700,000 tonnes of fish is fished

    annually, worth US$400 million. 51% of the lake falls

    within Tanzanian territory and 6% within Kenyan territory

    and 43% within Ugandan territory. There are some large

    urban areas that border the lake but for the most part

    you will only find small villages and landing sites, popu-

    lated by fishing communities. Fishing is normally carried

    out in small wooden boats with two to three fishermen

    where of 65% operate with no engine. According to

    a 2007 survey from Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisa-

    tion (LVFO) a 200% growth of small-engined boats is

    seen. Whether fishing activities are carried out dur-

    ing the day or night, deep into the lake or close to the

    shore, depends on the type of fish that is being caught.

    This determines what method is used for catching the

    fish. According to Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

    (LVFO), there are over 50,000 registered fishing boats

    on the lake, of which 16,500 originates in Uganda.

    The Lake is also extensively used for transport and

    trade purposes. There are a few big ferries, transport

    boats and oil tankers, but most of the goods transport-

    ed between landing sites is carried out by big, open,

    wooden motorized boats (between 4 and 10 tons).

    Weather conditions can change suddenly and strong

    winds can occur without much warning. Boats are often

    overloaded, most people can’t swim and buoyancy or

    life saving equipment is not easily available. As a result

    many lives are lost due to drowning in the lake (estimat-

    ed 5,000 deaths per year). Data collected by National

    Lake Rescue Institute (NLRI) shows that for every fisher-

    man that dies, on average four to five dependants are

    left behind without an income.

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    In this context, mobile communication has a great po-

    tential to make a difference.

    reduce loss of life:

    • GSM, with 46% subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa,

    is the optimal technology for connectivity on the

    lake, requiring investment limited to the integration

    of search and rescue technology. Avoidance of

    casualties is dependent on both a sustainable

    network for communication and a well functioning

    Search and Rescue operation (SAR).

    improve socio-economic welfare:

    • Mobile connectivity has been found to improve the

    local communities’ business possibilities when used

    as a tool for micro business related to telecom, such

    as battery charge sales.

    • Value added services enable sellers and buyers to

    find each other which could be used for both goods

    and labor.

    • SMS services like commodity price updates, weather

    alerts and money transfers.

    • Data network service that can be used by e.g. health

    organizations to conduct surveys and collect data

    with minimized loss of quality and time to analysis.

    stimulate sustainable green activities:

    • Mobile networks can be powered by carbon-neutral

    power solutions, such as solar and wind.

    • Information, data collection and surveys related to

    sustainable strategies could be disseminated through

    the network, promoting a more sustainable fishing


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    PRoJECt DESCRIPtIon BACKGRoUnD In 2005 the East African Community and Swedish

    International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

    commissioned a technical feasibility study carried out

    by Scanbi Invest. The purpose of this study was to

    evaluate and recommend a technology for a maritime

    communications system for Lake Victoria. The main

    recommendations of the study were to implement the


    • A GSM network adapted to meet the special mari-

    time requirements. GSM was selected as the most

    optimal technology in this environment for multiple

    reasons. One important element being the limited

    investment required for the many potential users of

    the network on the lake in comparison with other


    • One Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) for all three

    countries to perform both the functions of receiving

    emergency calls and directing rescue operations.

    Because of the clear potential to improve the wellbeing

    of thousands of people, because of the important

    role to be played by the telecommunications industry

    and because of their belief in the viability of the idea,

    three key actors in the telecom sector, the GSMA

    Development Fund, Ericsson, and Zain mobilized

    and launched the implementation of improved mobile

    network coverage.

    IMPLEMEntAtIon Mobile network coverage

    In 2008 the network implementation phase started.

    The goal was to deliver an expanded coverage of

    Lake Victoria covering those areas where the bulk of

    commercial activity took place.

    By August 2009, coverage of the Lake Victoria shore by

    the Zain mobile network was greatly improved by the

    addition of 21 new mob