At drone shows around the world companies from South Korea (Republic of Korea) have taken a major place – and this week in Rwanda, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the World Banks Group’s Korea Office, and the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund joined global partners to produce this week’s African Drone Forum. At sessions on unmanned traffic management (UTM) and regulations, aviation officials from the country participated on panels and presented the Korean flight safety regulations. South Korea sponsored an evening reception and forum for the African Drone Business Challenge, where large multi-rotor provider Doosan CEO Doo Soon Lee gave the welcome keynote address.
Global geospatial experts Hojung Solutions were a major presence, participating in the Lake Kivu Challenge, flying the unique Remo-M, a Korean-manufactured drone by well-established drone maker Uconsystems as part of the “Find and Assess” competition; and building partnerships. The company expressed their commitment to participating in the African drone industry: “We are a survey and mapping company using drones – we’ve been working here in Africa for more than 6 years. We think the African continent has big potential – it has a growing population, with governments that are committed to investing in drones,” sasys Munseok Lee, Hojung Solutions CEO.
The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport supports many humanitarian and infrastructure projects on the continent. “Due to the support of the Korean government, we have great opportunities to participate in humanitarian and capacity building programs for future sustainable development in Africa. Based on our experience here, the skill set in Africa is well developed, particularly in traditional surveys. We believe Africa is prepared to adopt drone technology rapidly,” says Andrew Sukhee Cho, Hojung’s US-based Vice President.
Hojung signed multiple Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements at the show, establishing partnerships across the continent. These partnerships with local drone manufacturers, training, and support providers formalize a relationship between the Korean company and African businesses. In Rwanda, Hojung is partnering with manufacturing innovation lab Leapr Labs; in Senegal, with service and solutions provider Flying Labs; with Uhuru Labs in Tanzania, and with Dubai-based UTM providers Exponent.
It’s a strategic move designed to establish ties on the global stage. “From a company perspective as an SME [small to medium enterprise], having direct contacts and building local relationships is a very important strategy,” says Cho. “It allows us to meet the customer needs in this environment, rather than just pushing technology.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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