UPS Partners to Launch World’s First National Drone Delivery Service in Rwanda

October 25, 2016


Rwanda launches world’s first national drone delivery service
UPS partners with Zipline and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to bring lifesaving medicine and vaccines to remote areas

UPS announced the world’s first national drone delivery service has launched in Rwanda, made possible by an international partnership between Zipline, UPS and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  As of October 13, 2016, the Rwandan government began using drones to deliver up to 150 emergency flights per day to 21 transfusing facilities in the western half of Rwanda.

This new partnership is a solution to core global issues, such as inadequate infrastructure causing limited access to lifesaving health products in remote areas, and an insufficient supply of blood to support the leading cause of death for pregnant women, postpartum hemorrhaging.

The UPS Foundation has donated a grant worth $1.1 million and has played a critical role in Rwanda’s national drone delivery program. Their logistics expertise and extensive global supply chain provides the necessary resources for the program to exist. 

"One of the most important focus areas for The UPS Foundation is to spark public-private partnerships that create powerful scale and drive demonstrable impact in support of global humanitarian aid and relief," said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS.

“The shared belief in the ability to save lives through applied innovation, combined with Rwanda's vision, is now not only poised to advance humanitarian logistics – and logistics as we know it – around the world, but also to save lives. Now is when our partnership between The UPS Foundation, Gavi and Zipline counts most, as we see the first operational missions dedicated to shipping lifesaving blood, and keep our eye on what the future can bring for other life-saving commodities, as well as for other parts of the world," Martinez continued.

Thinking to the future, the goal for this program is to expand it into the eastern half of Rwanda in early 2017. With 11 million citizens, this expansion will give the entire country immediate access to lifesaving medicines and vaccines.  With UPS’s support, the drone delivery program will also extend into other countries in Africa, the Americas and Indian reservations in the United States.