AFCAC, AASA partner IATA on African aviation growth
The Focus Africa initiative of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to drive aviation growth in Africa has received a boost with the commitment expressed by the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Through the partnership, Focus Africa aims to strengthen aviation’s contribution to Africa’s economic and social development and improve connectivity, safety and reliability for passengers and shippers.
It will also see private and public stakeholders deliver measurable progress in six critical areas of safety, infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, sustainability and skills development.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said Focus Africa is all about establishing a coalition of partners that are committed to pooling their resources and delivering a set of African air transport solutions that will let the continent, its people, and economies play a greater, more meaningful and representative role in the global economy.
Walsh said: “The combined contributions of AFCAC and AASA will be critical to Focus Africa’s success. Africa accounts for 18 per cent of the global population but less than three per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and just 2.1 per cent of air passenger and cargo transport activity. With the right interventions, those gaps will be closed, and Africa will benefit from the connectivity, jobs and growth that aviation enables,” he said.
AFCAC Secretary-General, Adefunke Adeyemi, added that the ability to access, serve and develop intra-African markets is crucial as the continent’s populace is set to increase by over a billion people by 2050.
“For this to be sustainable, economic opportunities must be created. As other regions have demonstrated, air transport connectivity unlocks broad prosperity. As the African Union’s civil aviation agency, we will support Focus Africa through our work, developing a set of harmonised rules and regulations that are designed to make this connectivity a reality, and drive our strategic objectives,” Adeyemi said.
On his part, AASA CEO, Aaron Munetsi, said time was not on their side as AASA’s members and the communities they serve face rising costs, unprecedented unemployment, obsolete constraints on trade and market access, inadequate infrastructure and a looming skills shortage.
“These demand urgent action, so we do not get stranded on the runway. It is why we have no hesitation standing with IATA and other Focus Africa partners,” Munetsi said.