Africa primed for major drone revolution 

Summit

From Left:  Kenya Flying Labs CEO, Cleopa Otieno, Senator Taitha Munene, Konza Technopolis CEO, John Paul Okwiri, and Ritesh Billawa, Manufacturing Engineer, Airbound during the Elevate Africa Summit 2024 in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • Kenya is positioning itself to lead in the drone industry.
  • In agriculture, drones are innovating precision farming.

Players in the tech industry in Africa are preparing for a projected massive revolution in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

During the recently held Elevate Africa UAS Summit 2024, participants acknowledged Africa’s potential to tap into the Sh5 trillion industry to support health, agriculture and logistics sectors.

The summit, which was held on June 28 and 29, brought together more than 500 industry players in the UAS from 21 countries neighboring Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director Air Navigation, Anne Gitau, noted that Kenya was positioning itself to tap into the growing market, starting with implementation of a regulatory framework to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

“Globally the UAS market is projected to grow exponentially, with estimates suggesting that it could reach a market size of $43 billion by 2025. Africa is poised to be a vital player in this growth and Kenya in particular is at the forefront of embracing these new technologies,” Ms Gaitau said.

Drone technology

Participants also engaged in discussions on equity and inclusivity with regards to gender disparities with special emphasis on the critical role of women in advancing drone technology across Africa.

“From delivering medical supplies in remote areas to enhancing agricultural productivity, drones are significantly impacting our society. The government’s National Drones Strategy provides a clear roadmap for integrating drone technology across various sectors and supports drone startups and research initiatives, focusing on empowering youth and women” said Senator Tabitha Munene.

Tabitha Munene

From Left: Senator Tabitha Munene, Konza Technopolis CEO, John Paul Okwiri, and Addy Kimani,  Sales and Marketing Lead, Fahari Aviation during the Elevate Africa Summit 2024 in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: Courtesy

Players also noted the impact of drones on wildlife protection, mapping and surveying, where it has enhanced accuracy and efficiency in geospatial data collection.
In agriculture, drones are innovating precision farming, increasing yields, and reducing costs. 

Drive innovation

“Drones equipped with advanced sensors have proved to be innovative tools in disaster management and response providing aerial advantage to conduct rapid aerial surveys capturing real-time imagery to assess for first response and situational awareness.” said Cleopa Otieno, CEO Kenya Flying Labs. 

Konza Technopolis CEO, John Paul Okwiri, said “Konza Technopolis is excited to lead this technological revolution, driving initiatives like the development of a drone corridor licensed by KCAA.”

Summit organisers observed the potential of drones to create positive change in Africa.

“By harnessing the power of drones, we can create a brighter, sustainable future. 'Flying Forward Together,' we can achieve extraordinary outcomes,” said Aviation Professional and Elevate Africa UAS Summit Ambassador, Captain Mercy Makau.

Kenya is positioning itself to lead in the drone industry, in its bid to drive innovation, diversity, and entrepreneurship across the continent.