Rwanda's government has partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to draft and adopt performance-based drone regulation for the East Afrikan country. This will, once again, see Rwanda continue to be a pioneer in the commercial use of drones not only in Afrika but across the world.
Once finalized, the performance-based drone regulations will help Rwanda's authorities to take into account the nature of the drone 's mission, in addition to its physical specifications.
“Building on the success of Zipline’s blood delivery technology, we are working to nurture a drone industry. As we look to the future, we will continue to put in place the infrastructure and policy frameworks that accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies to transform people’s lives,” said Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Rwanda’s Minister of Information Technology and Communication.
Rurangirwa was referring to the East Afrikan country's partnership with drone manufacturer, Zipline, to deliver medical supplies across the country. The project was inaugurated in 2016 with President Paul Kagame in attendance. At the launch, it was announced that the drone delivery programme will initially deliver medical supplies to five hospitals in the country's rural south-west, with plans to expand it to nearly half of the country's 45 hospitals.
“The enhancement of our drone regulation framework, developed in consultation with the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is a major step in creating an enabling environment for the development and deployment of drone technology. We are also establishing capacity-building programs to invest in local talent and leverage public-private partnerships to lay the groundwork for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” added Rurangirwa.
With drones becoming popular across Afrika regulators have taken to establishing policies, guidelines, and regulations that bundled all the different types of drones into one category without considering what they are being used for, thus, in the process, in some cases, hindering the execution innovative solutions. This approach by the government of Rwanda in partnership with the WEF will likely propel innovation in the country's budding drone ecosystem and hopefully be a guide for the rest of Afrika's regulators.
Cover image credit: President Paul Kagame at the launch of the Zipline drone medical deliveries project in Muhanga district, Rwanda.