Published on Jan 29, 2018 Greenbarge Reporters
Twenty-three out of 55 countries that make up the African Union (AU) have resolved to formally adopt a common aviation market, christened Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Among the countries that keyed into the policy at the ongoing African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
The for the policy was said to have lingered on for over three decades, its adoption is believed to open opportunities to boost air inter-connectivity, beat down fares and stimulate economic growth for the continent.
The chairman of AU, Paul Kagame and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki unveiled the plaque at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today.
The SAATM policy is a flagship project of AU Agenda 2063, which aspires to create a single unified air transport network in Africa. It is expected to foster the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and rejuvenate the continent’s economic integration agenda.
At the inaugural ceremony, the AU Chairman expressed delight over the actualization of the single air transport market for Africa.
“I want to say a big thank you for the work the Commission has put into this, to be able to form a single air transport market which is very important for the development of our continent in line with our many projects that will take us to our wishes for the year 2063.
“I am glad that we can achieve some of these now or tomorrow, especially this particular project. I am happy for associating myself with the progress that we have made so far.”
Kagame, who is the President of Rwanda, announced that the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe will lead the continent in realising the full implementation of market on behalf of the continent.
Research by the International Civil Aviation Organisation reveals that Africa accounts for about 15 per cent of the world’s population and a paltry 3 per cent of the world’s air travelers.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who was part of the delegate to the summit, said now that the SAATM has been launched, Nigerian Government would expedite plans for a national carrier.
He said that several opportunities abound for member countries adopting the SAATM, some of which he listed as increased investments, job creation through tourism among other benefits.
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