Global Partners is a Benin based start-up specialised in developing and providing drone solutions for agriculture, land use planning, surveillance, and biodiversity conservation. With its team of GIS analyst, agronomists, researchers, and drone operators, Global Partners uses the latest drones equipped with advanced sensors and take advantage of geographic information systems and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to generate high-end products that set the standards in their respective markets within the commercial drones’ services industry.
“From an office at the University of Kentucky (USA) to the warm soils of Africa, Global Partners benefits from the expertise of well-trained professionals who stay up to date on breaking developments in their fields. We use the latest and most advanced hardware and software in our field and continue to develop in-house solutions for specific needs” Dr. Lawani Abdelaziz, Founder
The startup was founded in 2014 by Dr. Lawani Abdelaziz who was first introduced to the use of drones by his GIS professor Dr. Jeremy Crampton. Before his studies in the U.S thanks to the Fulbright scholarship, Dr. Lawani initially worked in the Pendjari Biosphere reserve and was well aware of the poaching and illegal practices that affect the biodiversity in the area under protection. With the support of his GIS professor, he develops an anti-poaching program using drones to help protect the wildlife at risk in the biosphere reserve. With the financial support of the Department of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, the Clinton Foundation, Idea Wild Foundation, and the Students Sustainability Council at the University of Kentucky he was able to launch the project in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. He also benefitted from the support of the German international cooperation agency GIZ and the training support of Kashmir World Foundation where he learns how to build conservation drones.
Dr. Lawani was able to train the rangers in the parks, researchers, and students on the use of drones for conservation. However, from his interview with the local population, he soon realizes that the roots of poaching are linked to the low agricultural productivity on farms. The population living around the protected areas are in majority farmers who rely on the resources in the protected areas for their subsistence especially when yields are too low to sustain their livelihoods. Dr. Lawani started developing drones-based solutions in agriculture to help the farmers improve their productivity. In 2016, the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) selected him among seven other young entrepreneurs to benefit from training on the use of drones in agriculture in Paris. Following the training, Dr. recruited a strong diverse team of researchers, GIS analysts, drones operators to explore the drone opportunity. The team spent much of 2017 traveling the country, talking with farmers and farmers association to identify their needs and develop solutions to address those needs.
The company develops strategic alliances with farmers, organizations, research institutions, and agripreneurs on testing and adopting their drone solutions for agriculture. The company also discusses opportunities to expand its services to urban planning, infrastructures, and construction monitoring, but also continue its work on natural resources conservation. The company hires and train young students at the university and is strong of a team of 30 GIS analysts and pilots spread across the country.
In 2018, Global Partners introduces Artificial Intelligence in its solution. Currently, the company is improving its AI algorithms for pineapple counting, water and pest stress identification, variable rate fertilization and pesticide application, among others.