Kamil Olufowobi, MIPAD’s founder and CEO
An African based start-up has decided to tackle the problem of deforestation in Africa using the latest modern technology like data science and artificial intelligence to identify and to geo-tag trees planted using blockchain technology.
The group, which calls itself The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), seeks to unite Africans everywhere in the world, from those in the diaspora to others actually living in Africa in the project to aimed at tackling deforestation, which is a notable issue in the world, but mostly in Africa where over 60% of its population still depends on firewood.
The project is termed, My Roots in Africa which Kamil Olufowobi, MIPAD’s founder and CEO aptly described as;
“… Uber for trees, connecting local communities impacted by pollution or deforestation with global citizens looking to plant their roots in Africa,”
Through a social impact initiative, the project aims to plant and assign more than 200 million trees across Africa by 2024 before the end of the U.N. International Decade for People of African Descent. It hopes to achieve this by making it possible for anyone to place a request to have a tree named, planted or gifted in honor of themselves or anyone they love.
“It presents an opportunity where Africa wins, the diaspora wins, and all of humanity wins. It supports the diaspora to reduce their barrier of entry to Africa.”
The initiative will be officially launched in February 2020, on the sidelines of the African Union Summit and aims to drive support for the Great Green Wall while also promoting climate action one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Olufowobi told CNN;
“For every new tree that is planted, we can name one that is existing after you. Many diasporans want to connect to Africa and there is a deep sentimental and emotional connection that this program brings, which is ‘now I have roots in Africa.”
MIPAD will be partnering with Decagon Institute to further personalize the service by using data science and artificial intelligence to identify and to geo-tag trees planted using blockchain technology. This will enable its subscribers to know the exact location of their allocated tree and be able to see it using satellite imagery including Google Maps. It also helps prevent allocating the same tree to more than one person.
MIPAD says it is already working with city parks and forestry departments in every major African city to help people plant their tree remotely where they get the orders placed and the park and forestry departments are the ones who do the implementation.
Speaking about the idea of people, even from across the world subscribing to have trees planted on their behalf, the CEO of MIPAD said,
“They are the owners of the trees, all we are doing is being the voice of Africa to the diaspora saying ‘you can support Africa and in return, you can have your root planted,”
Co-founder of the International Climate Change Development Initiative, Olumide Idowu, has maintained that afforestation projects are important steps that will help relieve deforestation related stress on the environment such as floods, droughts and heat stress and forests.
While speaking to CNN, Olufowobi maintained that protecting Africa from deforestation was a collective responsibility of the human race, not restricted to only the Black race.