Africa Drone Forum Kicks off in Rwanda

The African Drone Forum kicked off in Rwanda on Wednesday with hundreds of participants from 44 countries from around the world.

The three-day event brings together civilian drone operators and policy regulators.

The 2020 African Drone Forum features a symposium, and an exhibition in Kigali Feb. 5 to 7.

The main attraction of the forum is a drones flying competition over Lake Kivu on Feb. 8.

Drones offer a starting point for a radically new model of low-cost, fast and futuristic transportation.

According to the organizers, transforming mobility infrastructure can provide rural towns and villages with access to modern services such as emergency aid, commercial goods and medical supplies.

This will benefit industries like agriculture, mining, construction, and livestock, they said.

Franz Drees-Gross, the Regional Director of the World Bank, outlined the potential for technology and e-commerce as rates of mobile phones in some African countries are more than 90%.

 

“Drones can accelerate Africa’s digital economy.” “Many communities are digitally online, if geographically remote,” said Drees Gross. If farmers, mechanics, medical facilities and markets in remote areas are able to order supplies online by mobile phone and have them delivered by drone, rather than having to transport goods over ground, production in many areas will see an exponential boost. “We need governments that are forward thinking and bold,” said Drees Gross.

The World Bank estimated that Africa needs to spend $38 billion more each year on transport infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations and maintenance – just to sustain its current level of development.

While drones have great potential to impact all segments of the African population, a lot of work still needs to be done for the technology’s potential to fully blossom.

According to a report by the African Union and NEPAD, as of July 2017, only 14 African countries have published dedicated UAV regulations, which represents 26 % of the total number of countries in Africa.

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