In 2019 Rwanda become the first country in the world where the number of autonomous UAS flights overtook the number of manned aviation flights.
Speaking at the opening of the African Drone Forum conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on 5 February, President Paul Kagame outlined the different drone operations currently underway in the country, including deliveries of vaccines and blood products, agricultural services monitoring and mapping, power line inspections and anti-mosquito spraying.
“The policies and regulations that we put in place should promote innovation and not slow it down,” he told delegates. “Our experience is that the priorities of safety, security and innovation can all be catered for in the regulatory framework.” He also said the continent should develop its own drone industry, which will allow the technology to be tailored to the specific needs of the continent while improving employment and prosperity.
The African Drone Forum currently taking place has attracted more than 1,000 registered participants – including 50 regulators. As well as a conference the event incorporates the Lake Kivu drone flight challenge, which tests drone operational concepts, airspace management techniques along with airspace and ground risk management methodologies.
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(Image, via David Guerin, Safety and airspace integration adviser at the African Drone Forum, Lake Kivu Challenge)