ICAO Calls for Long-term Investment in Airport Infrastructure in Africa

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Chinedu Eze

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has called for planned, strategic, consistent and long term funding of airport infrastructure in Africa in order to build capacity that would be able to process the increase in air travellers on the continent, projected to double from 120 million passengers in 2015 to 300 million by 2035.

This was contained in the communiqué issued yesterday at the end of ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) from November 20 to 22 in Abuja to address the challenges of financing and creating an enabling environment at all levels for the development of aviation infrastructure in the spirit of global partnership and in support of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative.

Citing overall objective of the world body which is to ensure safe and secure air travel in the world, ICAO said in the communiqué that “we recognise the need to make substantial investments over the long term in the development and modernisation of quality aviation infrastructure (including capacity, technology and essential service needs) commensurate with the level of predicted traffic growth, and based on ICAO’s global plans.

“Quality aviation infrastructure should enable more efficient access and mobility; improve safety, reliability and resilience; respond to the diversified needs of providers, users and consumers; enhance environmental performance; and ultimately support the on-going transformation to a more sustainable aviation sector.”

ICAO however said mobilising long-term financial resources has become more difficult and represents a great challenge for many states, especially given the strain on public finances and cost factors attributed to borrowing that exists in many developing countries.

“We reiterate that the first and most obvious pre-condition to developing and modernising aviation infrastructure is to improve the effective implementation of ICAO’s global aviation standards and policies, plans and programmes by states. To fulfill this pre-condition, ICAO continues to play a key role in fostering effective partnerships between donors, investors and needful States; facilitating the mobilisation of resources; and under its NCLB (No Country Left Behind) initiative, identifying, coordinating and providing assistance to States in need,” the communiqué said.

ICAO said it recognises the need to address the financial challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development which requires both ambition and credible means of planning and implementation and called for a “comprehensive, holistic and transformative approach with respect to the means of planning and implementation, which should be underpinned by coherent policies and good governance at all levels.”