BY ANTONY MUTUNGA
In April, Kenya legalized the use of unmanned aircraft systems, for both commercial and recreational purposes. Their sale, assembly, modification, manufacturing and testing is subject to approval by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) under the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2019.
Kenyans looking to own or import a drone will have to register with KCAA in order to be issued with a certificate.
Foreigners on the other hand will be allowed to rent one locally and get a 30-day temporary permit. The earlier proposed permit charge was reduced to Sh3,000 from Sh20,000.
According to Gilbert Kibe, KCAA Director General, the exercise of issuing permits and registration to applicants will be based on the drone category so as to avoid congestion in the air. “We are now at the final stages and we have called for applicants to apply for permits based on categories. Some of the categories include filming, recreation, media, and photography,” he said.
These new regulations are a relief for the many who have waited for their drones to be released to them after hundreds of drones were confiscated at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when they were termed as illegal in the country. But there is also a general feeling that the government took too long to act.
With the new proposals almost approved, the country is poised to take advantage of UAVs and utilize their potential.
Countries such as Rwanda and South Africa which have already fully adopted the technology are already leveraging the technology to deliver food and medical supplies in remote areas.
Drone technology is also advancing, and the opportunities that come with drones might be key to creating employment for the ever-increasing African population and might also be helpful in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (