Muhanga, 14 October 2016


Let me start by thanking all those involved in this important initiative, starting with our partner Zipline. It was exciting to see that first drone officially take off.

From the hills of San Francisco, where the Zipline team comes from, to the hills of Rwanda, we are pleased to be working together on this innovative solution.

This use of unmanned commercial drones to transport essential medical products is 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.

This is why we are pleased to invest in it, and we are definitely going to invest more, as quickly as we can, and we are determined to make it work for us.

Coming to this point has challenged our institutions to work together in new ways.

This included 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.

The aviation sector generally is becoming important for Rwanda. This is why, from drones to intercontinental passenger jets, we’re investing in aeronautical technology.

Once again, let me most sincerely thank the Zipline team and others in the room who have been very supporting in many ways to the project, and Rwandans who are eager to embrace this innovation, and others that will follow, I want to say to all of you, thank you very much.

We are happy to work with Zipline, we want to do more, we want to do it faster, and we want to do it in a way that Rwandans will be part of it, to make it work for them, to learn and train – that’s technology. Technology becomes relevant, meaningful when it works for people, when it addresses the many challenges they face in different fields.

To all partners and friends, thank you very much and have a nice day.