Kigali, Rwanda — The government has signed a framework agreement with Zipline Inc. to implement an automatic system for the delivery of blood products across the country using drones.
First Kenyan Homemade Drone
“We believe that using cutting edge technology to allow supply chains to operate independently of existing infrastructure represents a huge opportunity for our country,” Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT said last week in a ministerial statement.
“This one of the many initiatives that our government is putting in place in line with the Smart Rwanda Master Plan 2020 which was recently approved by the Government of Rwanda,” he said.
The system uses unmanned aircraft to make deliveries to rural health facilities for less than it would cost to make the same delivery using a motorbike. The system is designed and operated by Zipline, an American robotics company.
“We’ve been impressed with Rwanda’s vision for the future,” Keller Rinaudo, the Zipline CEO said.
He said: “In automating their supply chain using unmanned aircraft, Rwanda is investing in innovative technology that will improve public health services and save lives. We’re very proud to be able to work with the Government of Rwanda achieve this audacious goal.”
The first deployment will be based in Muhanga District and will provide Rwandan citizens with reliable, on-demand access to blood and other essential medical products.
An expansion plan of this project looks at building a bigger eco-system of cargo drones in Rwanda, connecting secondary cities, focusing on capacity building and research development and others. The government is already in partnership with Redline Foundation, a Swiss-based charitable organization, to start this investment.
Throughout Africa, difficult terrain often prevents medical products from reaching the last mile and the patients whose lives depend on it.
The Zipline system bypasses the challenges of existing transportation, improves the efficiency of health supply chains, and provides reliable access to medical products for everyone.
Zipline is a robotics company based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The company works with governments to make rapid deliveries of medical products to the last mile at very low cost. Its mission to build an automated supply chain for the world, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on demand and at low cost using drones.
Zipline partners with other global investors in the world, including: Sequoia Capital, GV, SV Angel, Jerry Yang, Paul Allen, and Stanford University.