Rwanda: Government Pledges Support to Young Innovators in Aviation

16 September 2019

The Government has pledged to improve the aviation infrastructure to facilitate innovation in the sector, especially from young Rwandans.

The pledge was made by Amb. Claver Gatete, the Minister for Infrastructure, yesterday at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Convention, and at the same time celebrating the use of drones in delivering healthcare services in Rwanda. The event was held in Muhanga District.

Gatete challenged the Rwandan youth to be more innovative in terms of commercializing drone technology.

The Chicago Convention established the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to promote cooperation and safety of the industry.

The continuous enhancement of safety, he said, has always been the cornerstone of sustainable development of civil aviation.

"Thanks to the tremendous safety achievements that our industry has registered, people fly confidently, seeking family and friends' reunion, business seizing on commercial opportunities and experiencing cultural and natural discoveries."

Col. Silas Udahemuka, the Director-General Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCA), said that, as members of ICAO, Rwanda was keen to showcase safety achievements that have propelled the aviation industry in the country.

He highlighted that the country is keen on promoting the commercialization of drone technology without compromising safety and security.

"Steadily and purposefully, we continue learning and modifying the innovations and operations through a performance-based regulatory regime," he said.

Melissa Rusanganwa, the Public Relations head at Zipline, challenged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities that the country has offered.

"How exciting it is to be in a country where the political vision embraces technology for a good purpose," she said, adding technology should not be celebrated by leaders alone but also by the youth.

Five years ago, Rusanganwa emphasized; "None of us knew that we could work in a cutting edge drone technology industry here in Rwanda."

Emile Nguza Arao, the Executive Director of Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA), said; "To the youth, your government believes in you. You should do all it takes to provide the nation with an innovative and fruitful future especially with aviation."

For ICAO Regional Director for Eastern and Southern region, Barry Kashambo, Rwanda is a special member of the body due to its determination, and ability to be receptive and the focus and stability of the nation's leadership being able to do what they say.

He said the future of aviation was drone technology, commending Rwanda for using the technology to save lives.

ICAO statistics show that the global air transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs and generates $2.7 trillion in global economic activity. With 120,000 flights daily, the industry caters to 12 million passengers a day, figures show.

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