Rwanda’s tech initiatives prove African governments can catalyze innovation

4 November 2016

Computing

The government of Rwanda, in partnership with California-based startup Zipline, recently started the world’s first national drone delivery program.

As an audience of local techies and international press looked on, President Paul Kagame sent the inaugural flight from a tablet-controlled launcher at a drone-port in Rwanda’s Muhanga district. The scene stood in stark contrast to media images 22 years ago of Kagame in military fatigues leading the country out of civil war.

Rwanda’s come a long way since the 1990s. Becoming a technology hub is central to the country’s national priorities. And Rwanda’s partnership with a Silicon Valley drone startup shows the potential of African nations to shape ICT policies that catalyze innovation with global applications.

Since launching on October 13th, Zipline’s unmanned aerial vehicles now make 50-150 daily deliveries of critical medical supplies (primarily blood and vaccines) to 21 locations across Rwanda. The small craft lift-off from a customized “drone-nest,” drop their loads by parachute, then return to their base — guided digitally by Zipline’s California navigation system connected to Rwanda’s 3G network. Read the full article in TechCrunch here:

Source: TechCrunch 31 October 2016