Kagame points out needed steps to fast track development of Africa’s single air transport market

On 1 December 2021 at 05:04

President Paul Kagame has said that the liberalization of air transport can help with sustainable recovery from effects of COVID-19 pandemic effects while facilitating operation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfTCA) and shared needed steps to fast track the development of a single air transport market on the continent.

Kagame was speaking at the opening of the 33rd Plenary session of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) taking place in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

“First, investment in Infrastructure is very critical. Rwanda’s aviation industry continues to see considerable growth particularly with the increase in capacity, of RwandAir and construction of the new International Airport,” he revealed.

The Head of State explained that these investments support connectivity within Africa, and complements Rwanda’s decision to remove visa requirements for fellow Africans.

Secondly, Kagame highlighted that affordability needs to be at the forefront of the continent’s strategy where ‘the aviation sector should not be over taxed and overburdened with charges compared to other sectors’.

The President also stressed the need to encourage citizens to travel within the continent and integrate digital processes to enhance safety.

“Lastly, innovation is key for sustainability. Digital processes should be adopted to manage travel health credentials. In the long run, this will minimize airport disruptions and increase confidence in safety. As we work towards fully opening our skies, the adoption of a dispute settlement mechanism should be a priority,” he stated.

Kagame emphasized that the aforementioned efforts will help create the impetus for more countries to liberalize their bilateral air service agreement.

Among others, the Head of State said that investing in people and creating the necessary skills to help them take advantage of the wide social and economic benefits that the market offers will be of great significance to sustain the gains already made.

AFCAC is a Specialized Agency of the African Union mandated to oversee matters related to aviation across Africa.

The meeting brought together different participants including the President of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Gabriel Lesa, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Salvatore Sciacchitano and other delegates from the aviation sector.

AFCAC’s Ordinary Plenary sessions, held every three years, are attended by delegates from the 55 African Member States, the African Union Commission, State Ministers responsible for civil aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), sister organizations such as the Arab Civil Aviation Organization (ACAO), the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC) and other high ranking decision-makers in the global aviation industry. The last Plenary session was held in Lusaka in 2018.

Participants of the three-day meeting taking place in Kigali, are expected to deliberate and take decisions on crucial matters affecting the Commission and the African civil aviation industry, in the areas of safety, security, sustainable development of air transport in Africa, the Yamoussoukro Decision, and the Single African Air Transport Market.

President Paul Kagame has pointed out needed steps to fast track development of Africa’s single air transport market.