Girls on tech

Kabelo Dipholo
READY TO FLY: A Drones for Africa device

Meet the Boss

Drones for Africa takes off

Operating out of Mogobe Plaza in CBD, Drones for Africa is a one-stop shop for all types of drones and associated gadgets.

Founded at the start of the year by the impressive, Marang Mbaakanyi, who serves as the company’s Director, the business employs a female-heavy workforce, dispelling the old myth that women and technology are a bad mix.

As well as selling drones, the enterprise offers training for drone pilots, repair and maintenance services and data analytics. They also provide delivery services in agriculture, mining, real estate, insurance and public safety sectors to name but a few.

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Let’s meet the brains behind the brand…

  • What inspired the formation of Drones for Africa?

Without passion, you’ll accomplish very little. I’ve always been passionate about technology, especially the usage of drones. It hasn’t been thoroughly studied, so I tapped into it. It is still relatively unknown in the Botswana market, which motivated me to try something new, push my limits, and choose a path that hasn’t been extensively explored.

  • You’re the first of its kind in the tech space. I understand your workforce is primarily made up of women – was that a conscious decision?

Our company consists of eight employees with five being females and three being males.

Standards and prejudices have long been in our society, and there is a notion that women are limited in what they can do. Women are frequently judged on their gender rather than their ability. I believed it was crucial to remove restrictions that society has historically placed on women. To demonstrate that gender has nothing to do with a person’s abilities and passions, I chose a male-dominated environment.

This wasn’t only for me; it was also meant to encourage other women who might be interested in the tech industry but are hesitant because of the way our society has been set up. There are young girls out there who are into STEM, and need role models.

Girls on tech
NEW IN THE MARKET: Drones for Africa showcase

I went into this space to give these young girls a reason to believe that their dreams are valid and attainable.

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  • Drones have become an in-thing and a must-have gadget amongst the rich and famous – but how’s the market in Botswana?

Although there are many concerns and some skepticism when something is new, as is to be expected, the market has been very receptive. The majority of Batswana are aware of and appreciate drone use. One industry that has embraced the usage of drones is agriculture.

Batswana farmers are truly utilizing agri-tech, and this is quite commendable as it is in line with the government’s reset objective of making the nation more innovative and knowledge-based. Photographers and videographers have demonstrated that they are aware of and interested in the drone space.

In a nutshell, the market is very large and drones may be used for a variety of tasks, including surveying and mapping, mining, real estate etc. What is important at this juncture is to sensitize Batswana and give them in depth understanding on the use of Drones.

  • Besides selling drones and providing tech support, what else do you do?

We also have a Research and Development Centre where we keep looking for new approaches to investigate and develop the drone market. We want to be able to fabricate and put together drones locally so that we can take advantage of opportunities from agreements like AFCTA and AGOA. This will help to market ‘Brand Botswana’ and continue creating employment for Batswana.

We also provide a Drone Pilot training course that takes people through all the stages required for one to become a fully qualified professional drone pilot.

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  • Where do you see Drones for Africa in the next five years?

Expanding outside of Botswana’s borders is one of Drones for Africa’s goals. We want to be regionally and globally integrated and have the ability to collaborate with various stakeholders in various nations. With the help of our research and development center, we hope to be able to assemble and construct drones locally, go beyond being a one-stop shop, and supply these drones to the Botswana market.

  • What challenges do you face in your attempts to grow your business?

Regulation and Policy. There are no regulations to guide the commercial use of drones which is not favorable for us because we are not able to get insurance for our products.

The other challenge is high taxation. The tax on the products we import is way too high this means we are not able to bring in as many products as we could have wanted to; we believe these prices can be subsidized so we continue to grow the tech space in the country.

  • Are there any unique features differentiating your products from what’s already on the market?

We provide 24 hours after-sale support for all purchased products and services, and our company offers product training on all purchases and facilitates Drone licensing. And, as I’ve already mentioned, we also have a Research and Development Center where we keep looking for new approaches to investigate and develop the drone market. We are working with different stakeholders to see how we can best grow the drone space in Botswana and eventually be able to fabricate and assemble drones locally.


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