The launch of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is expected to create 300 000 direct and two million indirect jobs on the continent.
“With preparations continuing on schedule, the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market will spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries, including tourism resulting in the creation of an additional 300 000 direct and two million indirect jobs contributing immensely to the integration and socio-economic growth of the continent,” said African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid.
The SAATM will be launched on 28 January at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of the first AU Agenda 2063 Flagship project.
Commissioner Abou-Zeid said the aviation industry currently supports eight million jobs in Africa and SAATM was created with the aim of enhancing connectivity on the continent.
“SAATM was created with the aim of enhancing connectivity and ensuring that the industry plays a more prominent role in the global economy and significantly contributing tothe AU’s Agenda 2063,” said Commissioner Abou-Zeid.
With preparations continuing on schedule, the launch of the SAATM will spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries, including tourism.
“The AU Summit will also see the adoption of the regulatory text of the Yamoussoukro Decision, that is, the competition and consumer protection regulations that safeguards the efficient operation of the market,” the Commissioner added.
An exhibition billed, "Flying the AU Agenda 2063 for an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa", will be unveiled to mark the launch, as well as a ribbon cutting and the inauguration of the commemorative plaque.
So far, 23 African countries out of 55 have subscribed to the SAATM whereas 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision.
“The African Union Commission, under the leadership and personal commitment of Moussa Faki Mahamat, has been playing a key coordinating role in the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market and advocacy to AU Member States, who have not yet committed to the solemn commitment, to do so,” said the Commissioner.
African countries urged to open their skies
The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) are also advising African countries to open their skies for enhancement of connectivity and efficiency of air services in the continent.
“As the first of the 12 African Union’s Agenda 2063 flagship projects to be launched, the implementation of SAATM will pave the way for other flagship projects as the African Passport and enabling the Free Movement of People, the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA),” Commissioner Abou-Zeid stressed.
The declaration on the establishment of a SAATM, as a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, was adopted by the African Union (AU) Assembly in January 2015.
Immediately thereafter, 11 AU Member States declared their commitment to establish a SAATM through full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999.
The Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 provides for full liberalization of market access between African States, free exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership and full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities.
To date, 23 Member States that have adhered to the commitment are: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.