THE KENYAN GOVERNMENT MAY SOON LIFT THE BAN ON FLYING DRONES
This move is coming after the country’s aviation authority banned the flying of drones. The agency had warned that anyone caught flying a drone would either be jailed for up to a year or receive a fine of up to KSh100,000 ($975). In March, the country’s parliament had legalised the use of drones. However, early in November, it annulled the regulation initially put in place due to the lack of public participation in drafting the regulations and privacy concerns.
Right now, a report has it that the Director-General of KCAA, Gilbert Kibe, said they are close to completing the draft of the regulations which will be presented to parliament for approval in order to end the ban on the use of drones. Additionally, Kibe said they hope to complete the process in the coming weeks.
The Director-General also claims that the agency has corrected the regulations to ensure drones are not misused by civilians and that the proposed legal structure will provide for the establishment of a registry for all drone owners in the country. The regulations will also make sure that the use of a remotely-piloted aircraft doesn’t threaten national security.
If the process of the new regulations is complete, Kibe states that it will regulate the importation and commercial use of drones for photography, humanitarian and health services, and recreational and wildlife conservation activities.
Kenya is not the first African country to place a ban on the use of drones. In 2016, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) placed a ban on unauthorised drones within the Nigerian airspace. A drone can only be used in Nigeria after the owner has obtained a permit.
Apart from Nigeria, other African countries that have banned the flying of drones are Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Morocco, and Senegal. Considering that some African countries are finding more use for drones in sectors like health and security, among others, Kenya might be joining them by lifting the ban on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).