Accra, March 31 – The Second International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Meeting on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa has ended.
The event, hosted by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), in collaboration the Ministry of Aviation, is a review of the outcome of the maiden ICAO Meeting on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa that was held two years ago in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
The Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said Ghana was putting in place the necessary strategies to have a national airline to boost the aviation industry and improve tourism in the country.
Ghana, she said, had recognised the role of aviation in economic development and was determined to make Accra an aviation hub in the sub-region.
Additionally, she said the country was ready to support other West African nations to ensure that the dream of a vibrant and solid continental aviation industry became reality.
Ms Dapaah said it had become necessary to speed up the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) with regard to the liberalisation of access to air transport markets in Africa.
Declared in November 1999, the YD seeks to establish a single African air transport market, considered crucial to the achievement of the long-term vision of the African Union (AU), known as AU Agenda 2063.
She noted that the time had come for Africa to leverage its earnings with the rest of the globe in the air transport business.
The President of the ICAO Council, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, called on African governments to improve aviation infrastructure on the continent.
He said ICAO had projected a growth in air traffic by the year 2020.
Speaking at the event, Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Ms Iyabo Sosina, said the continent’s aviation industry could further improve if skies were liberalised.
This, Ms Sosina said, would create synergies and optimise the usage of African airports.
She observed that African economies could not exist as commercial entities without embracing open skies.
The Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Simon Allotey, said the liberalisation of market access and air carrier ownership and control would address some of the challenges of the aviation industry.
“It will improve air connectivity within Africa,” he said.
Mr. Allotey noted that the conference had provided strategies which could improve connectivity between Africa and Caribbean nations.
He urged greater cooperation to ensure the pursuit of key resolutions adopted at the conference before the next meeting in 2019.
Nearly 300 policy-makers, air transport regulators, airports and air navigation service providers, and other stakeholders in the aviation industry attended the three-day conference.