It is common knowledge that Africa is in dire need of infrastructure investment. Your scribe recently drove across Mozambique in a rented Honda Civic and surmised that it would have been easier to move across the surface of the moon. The Africa Development Bank estimates that the continent will require US$ 93 billion per year, for the next decade, to build infrastructure that meets basic developed-world standards.
The dire state of even major roads in the continent’s interior make it exceedingly difficult to deliver urgent cargo. Rwanda has developed an interesting concept to address this challenge. The central African nation plans to build a network of ‘drone-ports’ whereby a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles can deliver packages weighing up to 10 kilograms. The approval process is apparently less bureaucratic than that in the United States, where e-commerce giant Amazon (from whom we assume Rwanda’s technology planners pinched the idea) has been wading through regulations for the past two years on a similar initiative.
Rwanda is quickly acquiring a reputation as a regional technology hub. President Paul Kagame’s government has committed to employing innovation as a key tool to help the country evolve from the genocide that occurred there 20 years ago. Construction of a national fiber-optic network has just been completed, and its government now sponsors a program that provides a laptop to all school-aged children. The country also now allows companies to be formed online in less than three days – compared to an expected 30 days in neighboring Uganda.