Rwanda pledges to support unmanned aircraft industry – KT PRESS

President Paul Kagame at the 2016 Muhanga District drone launch

The Ministry of Infrastructure has pledged to support three areas that will further develop the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) commonly known as drones in the public service.

The officials said Rwanda will work on the legal and regulatory framework and innovation systems, infrastructure development and capacity building in the country.

“There will be continuous improvement of the legal and regulatory framework to support innovation, without compromising aviation / public safety and security. There will be the development of the required infrastructure such as the Drones Operational Center (DOC) which will facilitate innovation, research and development, ”said Clever Gatete, Minister of Infrastructure.

“Last but not least, capacity building will be supported, which will ensure literacy and public awareness to fully engage in the benefits of UAS technology. The government of Rwanda, through the different entities, is ready to support the development and deployment of UAS technology which will promote better community, fair competition and innovation, ”added Gatete.

He noted that UAS operations are rapidly increasing in number, technical complexity and sophistication.

Gatete made the observation during the closing of the annual Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Retreat Conference September 15-17 in Kigali City.

It brought together local drone companies including Zipline, Charis and Leapr Laboratories.

He noted that the introduction of UAS in the NAS must be done gradually to ensure the safety of people and property both in the air and on the ground.

This year’s annual drone retreat aimed to bring together aviation industry stakeholders, including regulators, academia and the private sector, to discuss policies, human education, funding, manufacturing and insurance.

Drones to deliver blood

Participants included regulators – International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), East African Community Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA), African Forum of drones, among others.

“We were able to discuss some of the challenges and strategies. We discussed how we can improve policymaking to enable the use of new technologies in Rwanda, as an industry we are supposed to make sure we have the right tools ”, said Melissa Rusanganwa, responsible for regulatory affairs in Africa.

“Being responsible for solving the problems in Rwanda is the main objective using the technologies. We will work closely with policy makers to make sure we are sustainable and deliver the right solution, ”she added.

Rusanganwa said that the establishment of regulations in Rwanda has been done in recent years with the first regulations established in 2016.

“This was a performance-based regulation in 2016, which had already supported the sustainability of drone operations in Rwanda. I think that with these discussions, there is a strong possibility of allowing changes, for us to develop the industry, ”he added.

At the same conference, the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Innovation (MINCT) Paula Ingabire announced that a drone academy worth Frw 6 billion will be built for solve the problem of the shortage of drone experts in the country.

“The plan is to train as many people as possible in the use of drones in several sectors including health, agriculture and others. So far there are few qualified people, not only in Rwanda but also in other countries that have been using drones for a long time, ”Ingabire said.

“We need lots of local experts who can build, repair and operate drones. These are challenges that the academy will solve, we have completed the study for its creation. We are currently looking for partners and in the near future construction will start.

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