Mamadou Wade Diop, who calls himself Dr. Drone on social media, is one of the few people, if not the only person in the Dakar area who can fix broken drones.
But recently, he’s taken his knowledge a step further, consulting with drone makers across the world on how to construct one of his own.
Diop says that through the internet, he’s been able to communicate with other drone makers in France and China to chat about their experiences.
Though he does a lot of work in the audio-visual sector, renting his services out to news and documentary crews as well as collecting drone footage of various places in Senegal to sell, the purpose of his first Made-In-Senegal drone will be in the health sector – a drone that can spread chemicals to prevent mosquito breeding in stagnant water.
Not all materials necessary to make the drone are available in Senegal, but Diop says he wants to prove that it’s possible to make this technology right here in his home country.
Diop says that carbon fiber isn’t available in Senegal. Though he ordered it from China, he worked with local blacksmiths to shape pieces for his drone. And as for local materials, he was able to recycle a piece of aluminum from a broken refrigerator to form part of the body of his drone.
Mamadou Diallo is an owner of a photography shop who often collaborates with Diop.
Diallo says that the demand for drones in Senegal is not high but is increasing, though there is not yet enough of a market.
But he supports Diop, who says that if they don’t start making their own drones now, foreign companies will come in and begin to sell them at much higher prices.