The strength of Ethiopia’s regional air connectivity commitments and leadership was underscored this week by the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, during his meetings with country’s President, Prime Minister, and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Transport.
Ethiopian President H.E Mulatu Teshome, and the country’s Prime Minister, H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, concurred on the need for Ethiopia to continue to enhance its role as a champion of growth of aviation on the African continent, especially in light of international aviation’s key role as an enabler of sustainable socio-economic development and expanded local prosperity for Ethiopian citizens and businesses.
Council President Aliu stressed his appreciation for the prioritization of aviation modernization and growth needs within Ethiopia’s national and regional strategic growth plans, in addition to the key role to be played by continued progress on the liberalization of air transport Africa-wide, notably through the realization of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) by implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision. The need to strengthen internal oversight capacities was also highlighted.
Dr. Aliu held separate briefings for the Federal Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Transport, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and Mr. Ahmed Shide, respectively, where he stressed the benefits of enhanced compliance with ICAO’s global standards and policies. He also stressed ICAO’s extensive support of States efforts in this area, notably through the UN agency’s No Country Left Behind initiative, while praising Ethiopia’s early commitments to the ICAO CORSIA emissions offsetting programme.
During his stay, President Aliu was also updated on Ethiopia’s development of the Addis Ababa International Airport as a regional hub, and he participated with Ethiopia’s State Minister of Public Enterprises, Getachew Mengiste, in a special ceremony surrounding the laying of a cornerstone for the construction of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority’s new headquarters building and aviation museum.
The mission also provided Dr. Aliu with an opportunity to undertake bilateral meetings with the African Union’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, and its Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko. Guided by the Memorandum of Cooperation between the two intergovernmental organizations, discussions focussed on means to realize air transports benefits to the African economy, particularly through the upcoming ICAO World Aviation Forum and ICAO RPAS AFI events. These are key given the crucial need to achieve progress on the liberalization of air transport and to address the challenges raised by the very beneficial yet aggressive development of RPAS for agricultural purposes in Africa.
Dr. Aliu also met with Interpol’s representative to the Africa Union, Mr Francis Rwego, to enhance cooperation on security issues, especially in regard to the realization of the Windhoek Declaration and Targets for security and facilitation in Africa.
Taking place from 26 to 28 June 2017, the mission was concurrent with the Second Meeting on Air Cargo Development in Africa, for which Dr. Aliu offered an address that stressed the need for renewed commitment to the Lomé Declaration. A meeting he held afterward with Mr. Vladimir Zubkov, Secretary General of the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), provided an opportunity to explore this and other African cargo-related issues.
During his various activities in Ethiopia, Dr. Aliu was accompanied by the Director of ICAO’s Air Transport Bureau, Mr. Boubacar Djibo, and the Directors for ICAO’s WACAF and ESAF Regional Offices, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow and Mr. Barry Kashambo, respectively. Ms Iyabo Sosina, Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), also attended a number of the meetings that were held.