The government is in the process of designing a drone operation centre that will serve to develop the uptake, training and regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones.
According to Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire, the feasibility study for the operation centre have already been completed and the design phase was underway.
The development of the facility’s infrastructure will come thereafter.
The minister was speaking at the inaugural African Drone Forum currently underway at the Kigali Convention Centre convening over 600 stakeholders from 44 countries.
Ingabire said that with the impact drone technology has had in the country so far, the government is confident on the potential the technology could have across multiple sectors hence the need to for the operation centre.
Currently, drones are used across several sectors in the country including healthcare in the delivery of blood supplies through a partnership with Zipline, an American company.
Drones are also used in the inspection of agriculture projects, inspection of power lines, aerial mapping of land and most recently in mosquito spraying.
The drones operational centre will among other things serve to train emerging professionals in the sector, providing facilities that will enable design and manufacturing of equipment, lead in research and innovation as well as set up regulatory framework.
The centre is expected to support advancements and uptake of the technology leading to improvement of services delivery, solution to long term social economic problems as well as skills advancements and job creation.
The development is in line with the National Strategy for Transformation which is also the Seven Year Government Programme towards 2024, which among other goals seeks to create 1,500,000 decent and productive jobs and establish Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy.
Among the subject on the agenda of the African Drone Forum is regulation that does not inhibit the development of the sector, cooperation among countries, sharing of best practices among others.