The regulation of road traffic in Africa remains a big challenge for the authorities in place. To counter this problem, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and more specifically in Kinshasa, Thérèse Iran Kirongozi has found a revolutionary idea to design traffic control robots.
The first prototypes of these regulatory robots have been deployed on the streets of the Congolese capital since 1 st March. If in passing one hears “Drivers, you can leave the passage to the pedestrians”, it is not especially police officers who give these recommendations but it is the way of these talking machines that one hears.
These are 2.50 m high machines that can lift “the arm” and fold them all into a set of green and red lights. The carousel is now part of the daily life in Limete, Kinshasa’s popular neighborhood, where one of the robots stops the flow of cars on Lumumba Boulevard, a large artery charged with the Congolese capital.
“A robot that is doing road safety and road regulation is really Made in Congo,” said Thérèse Iza Irongozi, the designer of these devices and president of the Woman Technology Association, where the project was incubated. She does not intend to stop in the DRC. She thinks of implanting these robots in other countries of Africa and even in the United States, in Europe or in Asia. Why not?
According to the daily Jeune Afrique, the association “Woman Technology” was originally created to help Congolese women with an engineering degree to enter the professional environment. Today with the invention of these traffic control robots, Ms. Inza dreams of creating jobs all over the country, with the support of financial partners.
“If we can install 30 robots in Kinshasa, we will create more than 1,050 jobs for young people,” says Therese Iza
She says she is already in talks with the authorities of African cities such as Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Abuja (Nigeria) and others to export these robots. The selling price of a unit is around 25 000 dollars (about 22 000 euros)
Today, her work is recognized in Africa as in Europe, where she is frequently invited to conferences. “I put my own funds in this business, with the support of my husband. At first, I was … We were providing maintenance for the prototypes installed in Kinshasa, remembers Thérèse Izay, her face lit up with a broad smile. The authorities have struggled to get used to the idea that these automata, manufactured here thanks to 100% Congolese technology, could meet the needs of a sprawling city like Kinshasa. “Says the woman who says she does not regret being in the service of her country.