California-Based Drone Tech Company Expands Into Ghana

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

U.S.-based drone tech firm Zipline, which began its African journey in Rwanda in 2016, has expanded its emergency delivery service into Ghana.

The company uses airborne drones to make on-demand, emergency deliveries of 148 high priority products including vaccines, blood products and life-saving medications, according to GraphicOnline.

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The service will operate 24-seven in Ghana from four distribution centers—each equipped with 30 drones—and deliver 150 different medicines, blood and vaccines to more than 2,000 health facilities across the country, ENCA reports.

Ghana has poor roads in certain parts of the country and access to remote areas can be problematic. This drone delivery service aims to overcome that challenge.

A recent $3 million injection of capital from the UPS Foundation made the expansion into West Africa possible, according to Techmoran.

The charitable arm of U.S. logistics and delivery firm UPS is providing Zipline with $2.4 million in funding and an additional $600,000 of in-kind shipping services.

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A drone aircraft with a payload of simulated blood, and other medical samples flies during a ship-to-shore delivery simulation. AP Photo – Mel Evans

U.S.-based Zipline first began delivering blood and medicine in Rwanda in 2016 in partnership with the government.

Rwanda is known as the “land of a thousand hills,” and access to rural areas outside of Kigali can be difficult. Ghana had similar challenges.

Zipline drones help solve these challenges, and more than 13,000 deliveries have been made in the East African country, Techmoran reports.

Government embracing drone tech

In Ghana, Zipline will work with the government to enable the drone delivery network, which will be the largest of its kind in the world, according to TheGuardian.

The Ghana government has given Zipline $12 million to run the drone network for four years.

Up to 600 flights per day will ensure that life-saving medication and other medical supplies reach facilities in remote areas that take care of people in surrounding communities.