Although several countries around the world have restrictive legislation against the introduction of drones into aviation sector, Rwanda is surprising many skeptics.
The landlocked East African nation is aggressively taking up drones to boost its aviation sector. The country now hosts the world’s first drone airport.
President Paul Kagame who broke silence on drones said Rwanda has already made descent progress with the drones.
“They are very useful. Something descent is going on…We are aware of certain risks involved but they are manageable,” Kagame told media at the end of World Economic Forum on Africa hosted in Kigali.
He said, “Drones bring certain levels of risks in the aviation industry” and Rwanda has designated certain parts for drones and certain levels. This doesn’t eliminate the risks.”
For President Kagame it will require more awareness of the public and also improving certain levels of discipline.
A US drone maker Zipline International this week announced it is teaming up with United Parcel Service (UPS) to transport blood and medical supplies in Rwanda.
UPS said is providing a grant of $800,000 including logistical support – for the project through a donation from the UPS Foundation. Another partner is GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, an international organization set up to provide vaccines to the world’s poorest countries.
Zipline said by July it plans to fly the blood and medical supplies to 20 hospitals and health centers across Rwanda, a country of more than 11 million people.
Each aircraft can travel up to 120 kilometers on a single flight. It can carry up to 1.5 kilograms of materials, usually kept inside a box. The supplies are then dropped from the bottom of the drone and float down to the ground in a parachute.