The crucial importance of the liberalization of air transport in Africa to the achievement of the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals was stressed by ICAO’s most senior officials recently on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Yamoussoukro Decision – a convention that supports this objective.
The remarks by the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, and the UN agency’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, were delivered at a special combined event in Dakar that also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC). It was hosted by the Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of Senegal, Mr. Aliou Sarr; and attended by the Minister of Transport of Burundi, Mr. Jean Bosco Ntunzwenimana; the Minister of Transport and Aviation of Sierra Leone, Mr. Kabineh Moinama Kallon; the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport of Togo, Ms. Zouréatou Tchakondo-Kassa-Traoré; and Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, the African Union’s (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.
Highlighting the importance of aviation development to broader sustainable development in Africa, the President of the ICAO Council, says: “Passenger traffic for the African region is expected to grow by 4.3 per cent annually up to 2045, while freight traffic should also expand faster than the world average, at 3.9 per cent annually over the same period.”
“These increases should see aviation-related employment growth in Africa increasing to roughly 9.8 million jobs by 2036, and its air transport GDP impacts almost tripling to 159 billion USD over the same period. But we must also recognize and act upon the fact that the current status of connectivity on this continent is still sub-optimal, and thus hindering the realization of the aviation benefits now awaiting African societies.”
He also encourages the attending States to pursue the efforts initiated through the 2017 establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), a flagship initiative under the AU’s Agenda 2063 which provides for operational freedom and investments in aviation.
“As we’ve begun to observe together the early contributions and potential of the liberalization priorities inherent in the SAATM’s framework, we must not lose sight of the fact that its benefits can only be fully optimized by States when they can assure their continuous compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs),” Dr. Aliu states.
The AFCAC Secretary General, Mr. Tefera Mekonen, assures of delivering the benefits of AFCAC and YD to Africa.
Overall, the President calls for increased air connectivity and competitiveness of air transport in Africa through the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and the SAATM; the promotion of socio-economic benefits of tourism and aviation; the fostering of public engagement as a crucial partner through public awareness campaigns and education programmes; the adoption of aviation infrastructure development and related priorities into National Development Plans; the strengthening of AFCAC; increased human resources and skilled aviation professionals and the ratification of the Montreal Convention of 1999, the Cape Town Convention and its Protocol and other instruments governing international air transport.
The Secretary General of ICAO, Dr. Fang Liu, also expresses appreciation for the significant progress made by Africa in terms of the recognition of international air connectivity as a catalyst of economic, social and cultural development and the resulting liberalization that has been achieved to date. In turn, she recognizes the particularly crucial support of Senegal towards this momentum, in particular through its generous hosting of the ICAO Regional Office for Western and Central Africa, the AFCAC Headquarters and other regional aviation entities.