This post originally appeared on http://qz.com/725666/flying-an-unregistered-drone-in-ghana-could-send-you-to-jail-for-30-years/.
[Editor’s Note: Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) noted that the new policy is needed to prevent accidents in Ghanaian airspace.]
Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is starting to take drones seriously—very seriously. It has issued new directives on drone ownership and operations, under which operating an unregistered drone (or “Remotely Piloted Aircraft System,” as the authority calls it) can incur a jail term of “up to 30 years.” Piloting a drone will also require a license. The authority has kicked off the process of registering all drones in the country.
That suspicion is reinforced if you consider that more than half of the $4,000 registration cost in Nigeria consists of a “non-refundable processing fee” of $2,500, which prospective operators will have to pay each time they apply, including if a previous application was rejected. And permits will be valid for only three years. This laborious, expensive process is the best signal yet that Nigerian government agencies are not as disposed as their counterparts elsewhere on the continent to the innovative use of drones to solve problems such as health care delivery. Is Ghana leaning more towards the Nigerian approach?