Addressing the Special Meeting of ECOWAS Member States this week in Accra, Republic of Ghana, during a complementary event to the Second ICAO Meeting on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu commented that “West Africa’s air transport market has huge untapped potential.”
‘As a sub-region with a population of over 300 million people, accounting for thirty-one per cent of Africa’s entire population, its air transport market represents only about 17 per cent of Africa-wide aviation activity,” he added.
During a second special side event in Accra, aimed at promoting enhanced air links between African States and Diaspora Member States, President Aliu further remarked that “The African Union’s Declaration of the Global African Summit, adopted in May 2012, specifically calls for government action to foster increased economic partnership, by promoting linkages between the African Union and the Diaspora. The promotion of these linkages will require coordinated action in a number of key areas, especially the exchange of air traffic rights, the availability of highly educated and skilled professionals, and the coordinated development of air transport and tourism infrastructure, in order to meet growing demand for travel.”
Dr. Aliu reiterated that ICAO would keep assisting States as they move forward with all of their regional and national targets, in particular through the UN Organization’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative and with the support of the ICAO Regional Offices in Africa.
While in the Republic of Ghana, President Aliu, accompanied by the Director, Air Transport Bureau, the Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow, and the Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Barry Kashambo, met and held discussions with the President and Head of State of the Republic of Ghana, H. E. Nana Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo, its Hon. Minister of Aviation, Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, and a cross section of the aviation community in Ghana, and visited various aviation facilities including the Aviation Training Academy and new Kotoka International Airport Terminal project.
Dr. Aliu thanked the Head of State for the commitment and support of his government to the development of aviation and the leadership of Ghana at regional and international levels. The Council President highlighted the opportunities and challenges to be anticipated as a result of the projected growth in air traffic globally over the next 15 years and presented some of the latest global aviation developments, with particular emphasis on ICAO programmes and projects for African States, under ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative, which he called on Ghana to continue to participate in and make full use of.
President Aliu also requested that Ghana champion the follow-up to the outcomes of the Meeting of the African Union Specialized Transport Committee held in Lome, and in particular, the actualization of the Single African Air Transport Market. Noting Ghana’s interest in developing Biometric travel documents/passports, the President expressed ICAO’s availability to offer technical assistance and provide advice and guidance in the process.