The largest lake in Africa accommodates a fleet of 70,000 vessels, mostly individual fishermen, but lacks any alert or rescue systems. Consequently as many as 5,000 people die in the lake each year.
The loan will finance the extension of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks on the lake and the creation of 22 rescues centres in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, contributing to save lives and stimulate business for the benefit of the economy of the entire Lake Victoria basin.
Lake Victoria plays a central economic role in the region. It has the largest freshwater fisheries in Africa, providing livelihood for three to four million people around its shoreline.
The maritime routes also represent a great potential for trade and tourism industry. Nevertheless that potential remain partially untapped due to the lack of a comprehensive navigation and safety system to protect those who use the lake.
The project will address that important gap by establishing a Maritime Communication Network (MCN), based on the existing mobile (GSM) enhanced coverage on the lake and signal location detection features.
The SOS alerts will be given by SMS or phone call to the Maritime Rescue Communication Centres (MRCC) which will be established in Mwanza, Tanzania; or to two sub centers based in Kisumu (Kenya) and Entebbe (Uganda).
These regional centres will then dispatch rescue boats based in one of the 22 Emergency Search and Rescue (SAR) stations distributed around the lake.