The leading role of Drones in Africa.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, is held in Cape Town over 4 – 6 September 2019. It features Professor Klaus Schwab, and SA President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Forum discusses ‘Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

Drone sessions at WEF on Africa

Emphasising the importance of drones in Africa, the WEF on Africa 2019 features 2 sessions on drones on the first day. One of which is ‘Drones and Africa’s Future”. The other is “Unleashing the Drone Economy”. It is noted that Africa is leading the world in socially based use cases for drones.

Drone based blood transportation in Rwanda

The transportation of blood products project in Rwanda is publicised very well. It is maturing beyond the pilot phase into a national project in the country. This project is now also about to scale beyond Rwanda to Ghana and Tanzania.

Pervasive distribution platforms

Forward looking institutions increasingly look at pervasive drone based distribution platforms. This either happens at a national or large scale enterprise level. Certain parts of Africa now use drones to distribute substances with which to control the spread of mosquitoes. In other parts uses drone based seed planting reforestation. Elsewhere snake bite antidotes is delivered timeously to snake bite victims in remote locations.

The economics of UAVs in Africa

Paula Ingabire (Minister of ICT and Innovation, in the Cabinet of Rwanda) emphasises the broad based nature of the economics of drone based delivery of blood products. To assess the economics of drones, do not only compare the various transport platforms. (such as drone vs land based vehicle costs) Also look at the positive changes to business outcomes. Or the efficiencies that arise from the changes to business processes.

For example: Drone based blood deliveries reduce the average delivery time of blood in Rwanda from 3 hours to 13 – 26 minutes. This saves many more lives. Additionally they do not stock blood anymore. It only transport it in smaller amounts and on demand only. This brings the wastage of blood products down from 30% to 0,3%!

Realtime M&E

Delivering remotely is a very visible part of the enhanced range and reach that drones bring to the lives of land based humans. It is extremely valuable in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) activities to feed back data from remote sources instantaneously . This is that vital in many parts of Africa. This means that  M&E personnel normally collect this data manually, if they can reach targeted areas. They then only return and collate these weeks later. As a result this now happens instantaneously. And service delivery achieves targets much more effectively.

Drones in Africa

Many organisations are discovering that Africa is the ideal place for the development of drone based use cases.