Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
President of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council, Dr. Bernard Aliu, wednesday disclosed that African aviation industry is one of the fastest growing sector, and currently supports 6.2 million jobs and contributes $55.8 billion to Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Aliu stated this at the 50th anniversary celebration of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) in Dakar, Senegal.
The ICAO president in a statement by the Director Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, stated that in Africa today, air transport supports 6.2 million jobs and $55.8 billion in GDP, and that the African aviation market is one of the world’s most promising in terms of its overall growth potential, “due largely to your emerging industrial sectors and steadily increasing population figures.”
According to him, “In accordance with ICAO’s long-term traffic forecasts, passenger traffic for the Africa region is expected to grow by 4.3 per cent annually up to 2045, while freight traffic should also expand faster than world average at 3.9 per cent annually over the same period.”
He noted that these increases should see aviation-related employment in Africa increase to roughly 9.8 million jobs by 2036, as well as its air transport GDP impacting almost to $159 billion over the same period.
Aliu said: “Certainly, these trends underscore the tremendous potential of well-managed and ICAO-compliant air transport growth to lift this continent into a new era of promise and prosperity.
“Air connectivity is a unique and indispensable catalyst for socio-economic growth, and one which facilitates mobility and contributes to the development of trade, tourism, and services both within Africa and between it and the world.
“The direct route air transport which establishes between international destinations and markets has been recognised for its critical contributions to state achievement of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in addition to the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063.”
The ICAO president, however, observed that “we must also recognise and act upon the fact that the current status of connectivity on this continent is still sub-optimal, and therefore, hindering the realisation of the aviation benefits now awaiting African societies.”
He said in January of 2017, Africa began addressing this situation comprehensively through the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), a flagship initiative under the AU’s Agenda 2063. ICAO continues to support this initiative alongside the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision at the 20th anniversary.
Similarly, President of AFCAC, Mr. Gabriel LESA, said 50 years is a major milestone in the life of an organisation, as it is for any individual.
He added that: “Our commemoration is not so much a festivity, but a serious occasion to pause and introspect on this 50-year AFCAC journey. AFCAC had a modest but important beginning, unable to manage its own secretariat, but with the guidance of the African Union and under the able management of ICAO, AFCAC grew to wean itself from ICAO, and is growing into a mature organisation that we are all very proud of today.”
“Aviation safety and security are cardinal to the growth and contribution of civil aviation to Africa’s socio-economic development.”