Rwanda could be the home of the world’s first drone port.
Where are we going? To solving sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure problems.
Rwanda’s transportation infrastructure is a big problem. Rural deliveries are sometimes impossible because of unpaved roads like the one below.
The solution could be a drone delivery network throughout the country. In addition to being take off and landing sites, the ports would serve as commercial centers with drone fabrication centers and health clinics.
Scheduled to begin in 2020, the redline, a route for medical supplies, will be flown by the smaller drones. Five years later, the larger drones are supposed to transport commercial cargo.
An Infrastructure Leap
As did I, you may be wondering if the idea will materialize. Whether it does or not, the basic facts are a reality. As this graph displays, Rwanda’s roads are inadequate. In addition, it has no railways, one major airport and minimally navigable waterways.
Our Bottom Line: Geography
In 1776, Adam Smith told us in his Wealth of Nations that geography can determine your economic destiny. The key for Smith was “water-carriage.” More than natural resources, nations need the sea coasts and navigable rivers that facilitate commerce. Europe he said had those great “inlets” but Africa did not.
The question is whether drones create an infrastructure leap that makes navigable rivers and sea coasts commercially irrelevant.
(Title image courtesy of www.bdcnetwork.com.)