The Government will address the hurdles that several operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) commonly called drones face in their activities, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Innovation (MINICT). The challenges such as lack of skilled labour, lack of proper infrastructure as well as issues of permission grants, among others, were raised at the opening of a three-day retreat convened by Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) that started September 15, bringing together international regulators, drone companies and different policy makers. Serge Tuyihimbihaze, CEO of LEAPR Labs, a company that teaches youth in developing their skills on artificial intelligence including drone technology said that they face a challenge of financial constraints, where it has been hard to get sustainable source of funding in getting the right materials. “Another challenge we meet is the lack of talent recognition and development of skills yet we are confident about the talent capacity, the only thing these young people need is to be nurtured and be given resources,” he said. Tuyihimbaze added that the drone industry has a limited number of professionals and mentors, and the youth needs a bigger network for talent development. Wilson Kagabo, Managing Director of Locus Dynamics, a local firm that specializes in drones, said that the drone industry is still at infancy stage which comes with different challenges, especially at the field level, where the general public has low knowledge on drones. “Locally, to source the people with the skills and knowledge to work in the drone industry is still a challenge, even when you get some they are recent graduates with no experience on drones.” He said. “However, there is potential for growth as Rwanda is among the early adopters of drone technology, from using drones in health services to businesses.” He added. Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, said the government has strategies for these challenges, like putting in place the right infrastructure to support the drone ecosystem in partnership with Rwanda Space Agency and RCAA. “We will open a drone academy, which will be located in Huye District, this academy will help resolve the challenge of lack of skilled labor because we will be able to train people, research and develop drone technology. Ingabire added that the academy will be part of drone operation centre, the academy will not only teach drone technology but will also have a testing center. Andrew Mutabaruka, Manager of UAS Integration and Regulation at RCAA said: “we as regulators, it is our job to make public safety a priority, which is why we are tough when it comes to permission granting of flying drones” “We cannot say granting permissions is always late but it takes both sides, and when companies that want to use drones comply with the regulations there is no problem, and we keep working to reinforce ways on how space can be shared among drone companies without a problem.” He added.