Rwanda will be hosting the Africa Drone Forum and Flying Competitions in 2020 from February 5 to February 7. The forum will showcase the latest drone technology, gather experts and regulators together in a symposium, and challenge leading drone companies to take part in flying competitions with real-world elements.
The event is organised in partnership with World Bank and the World Economic Forum, along with UKAID/DfID, Danida, the Republic of Korea, the World Food Programme and UNICEF, alongside a network of African grassroots drone organizations and NGOs. Rwanda was chosen as a host country because it currently one of the only countries that has policies in place that allow for the types of applications being demonstrated in the competition.
Additionally, Rwanda is already a success story in the use of drones as the company Zipline, which delivers medical products by the use of drones, makes deliveries to dozens of hospitals and health facilities every day in Kigali and surrounding areas. Zipline, which recently reached a valuation of a billion dollars, is amongst the most tested drone services in the world.
Companies leading the way in drone technology are expected to be invited to the flying competition to compete. During the challenge, the World Economic Forum will engage with regulators on how to create policies that enable the safe usage of drone technology in their respective countries.
Drone technology has the capacity to transform infrastructure, creating low-cost, fast and futuristic models of transportation. This can greatly benefit places with tough terrains where other means of transport cannot reach and also rural and remote areas. The result would be access to goods, products, and services, benefiting residents and industries in the area.
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.
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