African States, industry stakeholders, and international and regional organizations gathered in Accra, Ghana, last week, for the Second ICAO Meeting on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa.
Organized in conjunction with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the Meeting gathered 224 participants from 36 States and many international organizations. They assessed progress towards the implementation of the Antananarivo Declaration of 2015 and agreed on future actions to bolster its implementation.
The President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, provided a keynote address to the event, urging African states to promptly address their air transport liberalization and infrastructure development priorities.
“The slow implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision has resulted in lessened African air transport connectivity and competitiveness,” he noted, stressing further the related priorities under the African Union’s (AU’s) Agenda 2063 and toward the creation of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Referring to the short-term need for aviation infrastructure development in Africa, President Aliu called it a “formidable challenge,” noting that “the rapid growth of air traffic will place increased pressure on existing aviation capacity, and it is currently projected that no fewer than 24 airports in Africa will be saturated by 2020.”
He encouraged the African States to take pragmatic measures to build a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate to support aviation development and to integrate aviation development planning into their national development and multi-modal transport plans.
President Aliu reiterated in closing that ICAO will continue to play a leadership role in ensuring that aviation growth brings greater socio-economic benefit to Africa, its citizens, States, industries and economies at large.
“We have taken great strides in cooperating more successfully in a number of air transport domains,” he concluded, “and by continuing to work together, through ICAO, even greater growth and prosperity await the African continent in the years ahead.”
Special events during the ICAO Meeting focused on the promotion of air transport within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, as well as air links between Africa and the Diaspora.