Kenya clears commercial drones for take-off

Those operating drones in Kenya will still need to be trained pilots and have a security clearance from the Ministry of Defense

Kenya has followed the lead of neighbor Rwanda and opened up its skies for commercial drone use. Drones stand to have a real impact in the developing world where road infrastructure can make movement of goods difficult, but the technology in Kenya will also touch industries such as film-making, conservation and relief.

The move makes Kenya the second African nation to give commercial drones the green light, with Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation reporting that the aviation regulator has approved new regulations allowing drones to take flight for business.

The daily newspaper, Kenya’s largest, reports that more than 1,000 applicants are awaiting regulatory approval to launch drone-based operations in Kenya, with film-shooting, relief services, businesses, and surveillance and courier services among them.

One area that could really benefit from the new regulations is nature conservation, which includes the team at the Oj Pejeta Conservancy. It has been testing anti-poaching drones that work with rangers to deter illegal hunting. The drone project was halted in 2014 when the government banned the aircraft over security concerns.

Under the new rules, those operating the aircraft will still need to be trained pilots and have a security clearance from the Ministry of Defense, but it is certainly a marked shift away from previous Kenyan laws that restricted drone flight outside of the military.

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