East Africa has emerged as a global proving ground for innovative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) technologies – commonly known as drones. Cargo drones offer the potential to leapfrog transport infrastructure costs by moving goods autonomously through the air and connecting hard to reach communities and facilities, especially in the remote rural areas.

Innovative technology companies have invested in trialing new services in East Africa including blood delivery in Rwanda (also recently in Tanzania) and direct to home goods delivery in Arusha. In Malawi, a humanitarian drone testing corridor has been established by the government for facilitating the demonstration and assessment of new technologies which will run from June 2017 until June 2018.

Tanzania is ranked third in Africa in the Drone Readiness Index - ahead of its neighbors Rwanda and Kenya – as a result of its early head start with pilot projects and potential industry and market development. Mwanza is at the geographic center of such technological innovations and is also expected to launch its own cargo drone pilot trials in 2018 focused on the medical supplies chain.


Lake Victoria’s shores and islands are home to over 30 million people – the most densely populated rural area in the world. Vital health supplies and other urgent goods often face significant challenges due to rugged terrain, remote islands, and limited road networks. Enabling cargo drones as a new mobility and delivery paradigm has tremendous potential to alleviate supply chain burdens.

The Lake Victoria Cargo Drone Expo & Challenge (LVC) is envisioned to be the first of its kind event in Africa. It will serve as a showcase for the advances in drone delivery that can make a significant difference in hard to reach communities and rural areas and will catalyse industrial policy and innovation strategies, connecting international investment with local innovation. By convening global state-of-the-art in drone technologies in Mwanza, it is expected that LVC will deem this a hub city in East Africa for start-up companies and projects, having impact on the industrialization vision and vision 2025 of Tanzania.


LVC is to be a pilot event for what may become a regular convening of the state-of-the- art technologies for goods delivery in Africa. The event will bring the cutting edge of drone technologies to Mwanza in order to:


Knowledge and learning

Inform and inspire policy makers on upcoming opportunities.

Supply chain modernization

Test the possibilities of connecting hard to reach communities with new services and business models.

Innovation and investment

Promote Mwanza as the hub for technology firms and investors (a) in developing this new industry sector, and (b) supporting old industry to modernize


The event will take place in October 2018 over three days and include three components:


Health, technology, and transport experts will come together to discuss possibilities for Lake Victoria region as well as for Africa in general.


A platform for drone industry including global logistical players, startups, drone pilots, engineers and media to showcase their innovations and state-of-the-art in technology for cargo drone deliveries and where it is going. A small documentary is envisaged to capture the event.


A drone race to catalyse new drone technology which is ready, or near-ready, for deployment in supply chain strengthening projects. The teams
will abide rules and regulations prescribed by the Tanzanian Civil Aviation and Military authorities to perform an assortment of tasks including vertical takeoff and landing, avoiding a designated no-fly zone, and satisfactory pickup and delivery of a medical parcel.


The LVC will bring partnerships with the international robotics and drone industries, health and transport experts, and country projects of note in cargo drones. It is expected to include showcasing the best results from Malawi drone testing corridor, Peru cargo drone lab, Vanuatu Cargo Drone competition and other key projects from Africa.

The World Bank will facilitate the Mwanza Regional Authority and the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology through DTBi to design and organize the event in partnership with InSupply project. Additional partners may include UNICEF, Human Development Innovation Fund and German International Cooperation and the Tanzania Flying Labs.