- The Government of Rwanda, in partnership with the World Bank, UK Aid, the World Economic Forum and others will host the 2020 African Drone Forum.
- The African Drone Forum will take place in Kigali in 2020, with a symposium of global drone policy experts and an expo of drone equipment.
- The event will include flying competitions on Lake Kivu to demonstrate the latest breakthroughs in drone technology.
On 4 September, the Government of Rwanda announced at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town that it will host the African Drone Forum 2020 (ADF 2020) and its associated flying competitions in February 2020.
The announcement also confirmed commitment from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, along with UK Aid/UK Department for International Development (DFID), Danida, the Republic of Korea, the World Food Programme and UNICEF as partners, alongside a network of African grassroots drone organisations and NGOs.
ADF 2020 follows the Lake Victoria Challenge Trial and Symposium, held in Mwanza, Tanzania, in October 2018. The inaugural event brought together close to 300 participants from 23 countries and saw 34 flights from five different drone teams, prompting research into new use-cases for unmanned aerial systems in the region.
'Increasing drone use in Africa can not only bring great benefits to business, agriculture and the health sector but quite literally save lives by taking deliveries off the roads and into the sky', says Timothy Reuter, head of aerospace and drones at the World Economic Forum.
The World Bank, a key partner in the ADF 2020, has recognised that transport and particularly cross-border connectivity is a key enabler to future economic growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity in East Africa, and that drones can play a large role in this.
'The African Drone Forum will open and test the minds of engineers, regulators, entrepreneurs, and investors. The flying competitions will promote new industries and services, harness data for delivery and resilience, create activity hubs and opportunities to leapfrog technologies, and develop skill sets for 21st century jobs in the region and beyond. This will promote the skies above Africa as a valuable resource and technologies to help build sustainable infrastructure', says Riccardo Puliti, the Global Director of the World Bank's Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice and the Regional Director for the Infrastructure department in the Africa region.
'We are excited to host the Africa Drone forum, a platform that will bring together policy makers, drones enthusiasts, experts and industry leaders to explore potential use-case applications for UAV technology on the African Continent. It’s an opportunity for Rwanda to share our experience in pioneering the use of Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) UAV operations, and the development of drone regulations', says Hon. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, Rwanda.
She continues: 'These discussions will provide a framework for policies needed to enable the safe deployment of drone technologies. We welcome industry players looking to deploy innovative drone applications that respond to global challenges.'
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