Drone Success In East Africa
The recent announcement by Zipline that it will be starting operations in Tanzania solidifies East Africa as a hotbed of innovation in drone use. Zipline is an American-based company that has thus far been involved in the delivery of drugs and other medication in Rwanda. The project has been a huge success and has no doubt played a huge factor in its decision to begin operations in neighbouring Tanzania.
The Tanzanian government wants to start using drones for the delivery of medical supplies, in this case drugs and vaccines, in 2018. The plan is to use drones to deliver medical supplies to remote areas where vehicular access is limited.
Rwanda has been a beacon of hope and success within the UAV community in Africa. It legalised drone operations and made it easy for companies like Zipline to operate within its borders. The hope for many UAV operators across the East African region has been that their respective governments would follow suit and do the same.
Tanzania is therefore in the driver’s seat in regards to embracing technology. By allowing drones to be used for the delivery of medical equipment, Tanzania is also creating employment for drone pilots, encouraging investment and innovation in similar projects, and providing a precedent for the surrounding countries. By doing this, countries like Kenya and Uganda will be forced to look at their own UAV regulations and perhaps follow the same route. The next few months leading into 2018 promise to be of keen interest to the UAV community in East Africa.