Friday, January 24, 2020

Malawi opens the first drone academy in Africa

In Malawi, 14 million people rely mainly on agriculture as a means of subsistence. 

In 2017, drought in the country affected more than half the population.

Since 2016, Malawi has stood at the forefront of utilizing unmanned aircraft systems -- also known as drones in Africa. This year, the country took a step further by opening the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA), the first of its kind in Africa.

ADDA officially opened on January 13, 2020, in Lilongwe, Malawi.

“In Malawi, we strongly believe that adopting modern technologies such as drones and advanced data analysis and management techniques will help us to serve our children better,” said James Chakwera, director of Malawi’s Department of Civil Aviation.

Open to Malawians and citizens of neighboring countries, the academy will equip individuals with drone technology skills necessary for jobs using drones, particularly in humanitarian aid and disaster preparedness.

Graduates will earn certificates issued from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (based in the United States), through a partnership between ADDA and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The academy plans to educate 150 students by 2020 through a 10-week course. The first cohort has already begun training and will graduate on March 18, 2020. The cohort is comprised of 26 students, with 16 from Malawi, 10 from across Africa, and women making up over half of the class.