Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Drone resource delivery

C4IR Rwanda

Completed 2020

Creating agile-regulations to enable the deployment of drones for medical deliveries, infrastructure inspections and other applications.


  • Smarter and more efficient processes
  • Accelerated tech adoption
  • New government regulation


Overcome land transport challenges to effectively deliver resources to citizen, especially in rural areas.


  • Develop a new performance-based approach for drone regulation

  • Pilot the regulation including the delivery medical products, infrastructure inspections, surveying.


  • Pilots supported in Rwanda

  • Adoption of new regulation

  • Increase accessibility in rural areas

  • Piloting in other African economies

New uses of drone technology offer the potential to transport life-saving supplies, lift people out of gridlock on the roads, and better understand and protect the environment. But in many jurisdictions, drone use is subject to prescriptive aviation regulation, inhibiting use cases that involve drones flying autonomously or beyond the operator’s line of sight.

To unlock the potential of drone technologies, the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) collaborated with the World Economic Forum to introduce a performance-based regulatory approach. Rather than set prescriptive rules, the RCAA determined acceptable thresholds of risk and required manufacturers and operators to demonstrate how they will meet these performance standards. Already, it has enabled new businesses to establish themselves for the delivery of medical products, infrastructure inspections, agricultural and pest spraying, and the surveying of crops and land titling.

The initiative has led to the development of a model regulatory framework, the Advanced Drone Operations Toolkit that has been used as reference for ICAO, UNICEF, and World Bank efforts. Countries including Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Tanzania have adopted key elements of the Rwandan framework. This was also featured through the Forum’s Drone Innovators Network Meetings.

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