When our skies are closed it is harder to make air transport safer –Kagame

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 22 February 2017 saa 07:33
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President Paul Kagame has urged African countries to open skies, work together to promote aviation transport because it would hardly progress without integration with other continents.

He made the remarks today as he officially opened Aviation Africa Conference taking place at the Kigali Convention Center.

The Aviation Africa Conference brings together 550 delegates from 58 countries including 120 airline delegates and 56 exhibiting companies.

Addressing participants, Kagame said that Rwanda has stepped up efforts towards the creation of a single African air transport market ‘by fully opening up our skies’ noting that aviation travels in Africa should be extended to other continents.

He explained that Yamoussoukro Agreements need effective implementation to enhance Africa integration with other continents other than working alone.

“Yamoussoukro Decision still needs to be implemented & Africa remains more connected with other continents than internally,” said Kagame.

“When our skies are closed it is harder to make air transport safer, more reliable and more affordable. As we work to expand regional transportation and digital networks, we must do the same with air transport,” he added.

Kagame has also called for removal of challenges in African aviation transport which is still low compared to other continents.

“Removing barriers is imperative but not enough. We need to build capacity in different aspects of the aviation industry. We must consistently exceed expectations in order to compete globally,” he said.

He expressed desire to see many young Rwandans and Africans pursuing careers in aviation as pilots, engineers, designers, business analysts.

Kagame has said that Rwanda is committed to promoting aviation transport where RwandAir continues to expand its route network in Africa, and beyond.

He also observed that Rwanda is investing in infrastructure, upgrading Kigali International Airport and building the new Bugesera International Airport and working with others across Africa to create a conducive environment for private sector investment in the industry.

A similar conference was previously held in Dubai in May 2015.

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President Paul Kagame holding a model RwandaAir aircraft during the inauguration of Aviation Africa Conference in Kigali Convention Center.
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President Paul Kagame in a group photo with participants of Aviation Africa Conference taking place at the Kigali Convention Center.