Using new technologies and innovation is not usually about fixing what is directly broken in the old system but rather creating a new system to replace it. The Trifecta of internet (tablets), 3D printers, and drones can radically alter supply chains for many products and goods. This can apply to the medical industry, but also to spare parts, agriculture, fashion, and consumer goods. This trifecta will revolutionize life as we know it in coming years.
The Commission Of Science and Technology (COSTECH)’s research priorities in Human Capital Development, Health, Water and Sanitation, Energy, as well as Industry and Manufacturing1 are all served by further research and developing in the use of internet and cloud based STL files and 3D printing for the creation of manufactured products to fulfill the basic human needs. As each person with a printer can chose their own files for the products they want to to introduce to the market anyone with access to a 3D printer can become an entrepreneur. The access to the technology and to the machines to build such technologies is a necessary step in the industrial development of Tanzania. Machines and other products do not have to be imported from other countries indefinitely. Micro industrialization can begin here and now. With a printer, internet, solar, and some training anyone can be a small business owner. Their income entirely dependent on their creativity and resolve. This is using the principle at the core of the capitalism system of economics division of labor. If “making” is decentralized by leveraging 3D printing technology, people can more easily and equitably own the “means of production”. Manufacturing becomes democratic and small scale with mini factories each making special order, unique products.
As more than 10% of youth are unemployed or underemployed there is great opportunity for expansion and growth of new employment and new industries that did not previously exist. These youth need to be have basic training in the practical application of electronics and engineering, rather than theoretical knowledge, to begin the design and production of products for the Tanzanian market, by Tanzanian citizens. Even if the designs are found online and resourced as Open Source, the person printing the product makes the full profit of its sale minus the cost of the plastic input and the “wear and tear” on the machine. The government of Tanzania is looking for “Big Results Now”. With some investment in education, Tanzanian could be designing machines to sell to their neighbors, they could be designing new products never seen before, and could compete and integrate with the global market while localizing production.
*** Top photo is Zipline UAV testing in California for Rwanda http://flyzipline.com/product/