President Paul Kagame officially inaugurated medical delivery drones in Muhanga District, the first project of its kind in the world.
The project is run by the Government of Rwanda, in partnership with a California-based robotics company, Zipline, Inc.
The launch marks the beginning of delivery of essential medical products, especially blood, to save lives in various hospitals around the country.
In his remarks, President Kagame said the use of unmanned commercial drones to transport essential medical products was a milestone for Rwanda in many respects.
“The cutting-edge technology will enable us to bypass the challenges of existing modes of transport. But even more importantly, it demonstrates the possibility of transforming business models in many industries beyond healthcare.
Rwanda has chosen to place ICT at the core of our development strategy because we recognise its power to change lives and contribute to the rapid socio-economic transformation we want, as we saw a few minutes ago. It starts with the right mindset, to get things working properly.
We believe that “Good enough” is no longer enough. We need to aim for the best. And I think we are moving in that direction, going for the best as we have seen today. In this case, we are convinced of the value of this technology and the potential it holds for our future.”
President Kagame said this new milestone has challenged Rwanda institutions to start working together in new ways, because he said the achievement involved putting in place relevant regulation to ensure safety and good management without hindering innovation.
“In order for us to gain the full benefit, we need to provide relevant education and training, as well as communicate to our citizens the importance of this new technology, in the simplest ways, so that they are able to understand. This is all within our means.
Rwandans have learned to embrace innovation, especially when it is clear that it can help us solve the challenges we face.
This attitude has enabled us to overcome great odds in the last twenty-two years and makes us optimistic about how much more we can achieve by working together with good partners, like the team from Zipline.
I hope that this project will inspire more innovation and entrepreneurship in commercially viable technologies in our country.”
President Kagame observed that the aviation sector is generally becoming important for Rwanda, citing this as the reason why Rwanda was investing in aeronautical technology; from drones to intercontinental passenger jets.