Partnerships for the planet: Early warning system for extreme weather

26 April 2024

Africa Fights Back: Early Warnings for 300 Million People

Millions in Africa face the brunt of extreme weather. But a powerful new alliance is changing the game. MTN Group,, and Microsoft are joining forces to deliver life-saving early warnings directly to mobile phones across the continent. This means over 300 million people will get critical weather information using cutting-edge technology like satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence.

Africa: Rising Climate Threat & Extreme Weather

Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change, experiencing a surge of extreme weather events. Since 2022, devastating floods and droughts have caused immense hardship. In Nigeria, the worst floods in a decade claimed over 600 lives, while Uganda grappled with drought and famine, leading to over 2,500 deaths.

The stark difference in disaster preparedness saves lives. According to the UN, countries lacking early warning systems experience an 85% higher death rate from disasters compared to those with robust systems. Alarmingly, 60% of Africa lacks such systems. The recent Kwa-Zulu Natal floods in South Africa illustrate the dangers.

Torrential rains caused casualties, destroyed homes, and crippled infrastructure, leading to severe economic losses. MTN South Africa’s network was heavily impacted by the floods, compounded by damaged roads and power outages. Despite limited access, their tireless efforts restored connectivity.

Early warning systems are crucial for saving lives, protecting infrastructure, and promoting long-term sustainability in the face of climate change and extreme weather events like the KZN floods.

Tech Alliance Aims to Save Lives in Africa with Hyperlocal Weather Alerts This partnership focuses on creating a system that delivers critical weather information directly to vulnerable communities across Africa. By combining cutting-edge technology, the initiative aims to:

  • Leverage’s hyperlocal weather engine: This engine provides highly accurate, location-specific forecasts.
  • Utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform: This powerful platform ensures scalability and efficient data processing.
  • Harness MTN’s extensive mobile network: This vast network will deliver life-saving early warnings directly to millions of users.

The goal is to provide clear and timely notifications about severe weather events, allowing communities to take preventative measures like evacuation or preparation. This collaborative effort has the potential to significantly reduce the impact of disasters and save lives across Africa.

Beyond Early Warnings: Building Resilience in Africa

This collaboration between, MTN Group, and Microsoft goes beyond simply delivering early warnings. It aims to transform how African communities prepare for and adapt to a changing climate.

Empowering Communities:

  • Actionable weather intelligence: Timely and specific forecasts will enable communities to take preventative measures, reducing deaths and losses from weather disasters.
  • Value-added services: Tailored subscription services (e.g., for agriculture) will empower critical sectors to thrive in a more unpredictable climate.

Scaling the Impact:

  • Africa-wide expansion: The initiative will expand beyond West Africa, reaching all
    MTN-operating countries in the continent.
  • Sustainable development focus: Aligning with the UN’s vision, the collaboration will
    leverage technology to support sustainable development goals.

A Leap Forward:

This partnership represents a significant advancement. By harnessing cutting-edge
technologies (satellite monitoring, AI, mobile networks, and cloud computing), it empowers
vulnerable populations and contributes to a more resilient Africa in the face of climate change