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Kigali, Rwanda, May 5, 2020 - As the culmination of the activities under the African Drone Forum 2020, we are proud to announce the winners of the Lake Kivu Challenge Flying Competitions, a first of its kind drone competition that sought to demonstrate real use cases for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on the African continent.

The Lake Kivu Challenge (LKC) owes its success to collaboration between the Government of Rwanda, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID/UKAID), and the World Bank Group.

The winners of the Lake Kivu Challenge were announced as part of a virtual awards ceremony, streamed online and attended by the ADF community. The event featured the Honourable Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda, Paula Ingabire, Franz Drees Gross, Regional Director at World Bank, and other senior representatives from the Government of Rwanda, World Bank Group and UK Department for International Development, as well as technical experts from the LKC.

“The Lake Kivu Challenge is not just about recognising and awarding winners, but rather drawing attention and collaboration from the wider global drone industry and partners to bring these solutions to scale in Africa. I wish to thank all the teams that came to Rwanda and gave so much of their time, energy and ideas not only for this challenge, but also provided training at local schools and shared their experience with us at the African Drone Forum. Congratulations to all the teams – you have inspired the next generation!”

- Hon. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda

"The World Bank is supporting the Lake Kivu Challenge and the drone ecosystem because we believe that investing in human capital, leveraging new technologies, and maximising partnerships for development are key to growth and shared prosperity. As we are witnessing with the COVID-19 pandemic, resilient supply chains, digital skills and digital jobs and innovation are now more important than ever", said Franz Drees-Gross, Regional Director, World Bank.

The Flying Competitions comprising the Lake Kivu Challenge were designed to accurately reproduce the challenges that would face drone operators flying missions in Africa. The Flying Competitions took place in Karongi, Rwanda, and saw drones flying between a droneport on the shore of Lake Kivu and another 20km away across the water on Bugarura Island. DFID/UKAID funded the prizes presented today to the Lake Kivu Challenge winners in the amount of £230,000 ($285,000).

Each Flying Competition was inspired by real challenges drones would face delivering services in Africa, with the success criteria in line with those needed to complete real operations. The challenge followed the highest international safety standards, meaning that if teams did not comply with safety procedures they were immediately disqualified. 

The winners of the Lake Kivu Challenge are:

For the Emergency Delivery Competition

For the Sample Pick-Up Competition

For the Find and Assess Competition

For the Data Analysis Special Award

For the Airmanship Special Award

  • Volansi from USA, winning £15,000

For the Innovation Award

For the Safety Awards 

In addition to prize money, the winning teams will be supplied with a safety technology system from Iris Automation.

  • Wingcopter from Germany, winning £5,000
  • Avy from the Netherlands, winning £5,000

The requirements of each competition were:

Emergency Delivery saw participants transporting a minimum of two 500ml saline bags to the island droneport, before returning safely, simulating the delivery of emergency medical supplies. The cargo had to arrive fully intact, with all items delivered inside of the designated drop-off area. 

Sample Pick-Up saw teams collecting a series of 250g modules of glass ampoules from the island, and returning them to the shore, in a simulation of how drones can be used to collect medical samples in a health supply chain. 

Find and Assess challenged teams to correctly identify a series of targets around Bugarura Island, both on land and in the water, before returning safely.

“Every single drone manufacturer and service provider has said this has been very helpful to get real-life experience and now they can go back home and they’ll know the things that have to change to adapt to those conditions,” said Dr. Olivier Defawe, Director of Health Systems for VillageReach and LKC Judge. “To me, that’s been the biggest advantage. This competition allowed them to come here, to work together, to experience and come up with solutions.”

The Lake Kivu Challenge was launched on February 4, 2020 by Karongi District Mayor Mukarutesi Vestine in front of an audience of high-level representatives from the Government of Rwanda, ADF partner organisations and regional regulatory bodies. Flights took place from February 8 to 14, with 10 teams competing from 7 countries. In the intense competition, 68 Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights were conducted, requiring more than 3500 hours of oversight from the LKC safety experts. 

The Lake Kivu Challenge is a key component of the African Drone Forum, which saw the Symposium and Expo held in Kigali, Rwanda, February 5-7, 2020. The event was opened by His Excellency Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, and saw more than 1000 delegates converge to discuss a shared flightplan for African states to harmonise legislation for a commercially viable African drone industry. 

More about the Government of Rwanda:

More about the World Bank, Africa:  

More about the DFID/UKAID:

For media inquiries, please contact

For more information, please visit

Photographs of the LKC are available here.

Photographs of the ADF are available here: Day 1Day 2Day 3.

The video announcing the winners is available here.
The videos showcasing the winners per competition are available here: Emergency DeliverySample Pick-Up and Find and Assess.

Highlight videos of the LKC are available here: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4.


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