Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Ferries for Lake Victoria

Two nonprofits, EarthWise Ventures and Pilgrim Uganda, are teaming up to bring dependable ferries to Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. The lake borders Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The current ferry system is unreliable and it can take days to drive around on the poor roads.

Rob Smith, who is heading the construction of the ferries in Everett, grew up in South Africa and started EarthWise Ventures to help in Africa’s development. He is currently finishing the first ferry, which is a 65-foot-long catamaran designed to hold 200 passengers. Each ferry costs $1.2 million to make and Smith has a goal of raising $2.4 million before shipping his first ferry in pieces to Uganda. This start up capital will pave the way for him to eventually build 10 ferries for Lake Victoria.

Calvin Echodu and his organization Pilgrim Uganda will set up the ferry service and charge a fee of $25 per trip, which is equal to the current bus fare around the lake. The profits will fund the new boats that Smith has designed.
--Jessica Milstead

Source: seattletimes.com