About the 2020 African Drone Forum

The 2020 African Drone Forum comprised a Symposium and Expo, Lake Kivu Challenge Flying Competitions, African Drone Business Challenge, Regulators Summit, Sandbox Unmanned Traffic Management Showcase, and several youth training and scholarships activities. The event took place in Kigali on February 5-7, 2020. Competitive flights commenced on February 9 until February 14, 2020.

The first iteration of event – named the Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) was held at Lake Victoria in Mwanza, Tanzania in October 2018. It posed the question: “What would happen if Africa could unlock the lower skies as a resource for mobility?”

The inaugural event explored the emerging transportation technologies that are capable of overcoming Africa’s infrastructure deficit and addressing the continent’s infrastructure, public health and mobility challenges with a visionary, safe and scalable solution.

Now, Rwanda is set to take the project a step further, advancing emerging technologies to address challenges both new and perennial.

An innovative solution where it is needed most

Conventional transport infrastructure (notably road and rail) is prohibitively expensive in Africa, and only 34% of Africa’s population are within 2 km of an all-weather road. This is partly an issue of budget: In order to sustain current levels of development, the continent needs to spend $38 billion more each year on infrastructure, plus a further $37 billion on operations.

Drones offer a starting point for radically rethinking the region’s mobility, lowering the price of transportation per kilo per kilometer to a minimum. In pioneering the development of an economically viable and secure droneport, the Lake Victoria Challenge is an advocate for ideas that can be adopted throughout Africa and the rest of the world.

Opportunities for growth

Hosted by the Rwandan government, the 2020 Africa Drone Forum receives unprecedented support in building frameworks that can turn into viable business opportunities. It aims to empower local stakeholders by creating a self-sustaining industry for many years to come.

The value of prospective drone applications for global infrastructure projects is estimated at $44.2 billion, and prospective drone industry applications globally are valued at $127.3 billion. Key industries include infrastructure, delivery and e-commerce, agriculture, mobility and logistics, energy, public safety and security, entertainment, insurance, mining and construction and telecommunications.

Why Lake Kivu?

Africa’s lakes present logistical challenges that drones are uniquely positioned to address. Rwanda’s Lake Kivu region is a densely populated area located around an expanse of water and surrounded by hilly conditions.

The existing infrastructure and landscape are not optimal for delivering critical components by road. A flying competition held here will illustrate the real-world applications of airspace management, delivery, and autonomous flight, while avoiding populated areas on the ground.