Fresh Impetus Towards a Single African Air Transport Market

Kigali, Wednesday, March 9, 2022: Aviation experts from the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are meeting in a three days’ retreat in Kigali, Rwanda, from 8th –10th March 2022 to harmonize their workplans, strengthen institutional arrangement and collaboration in the operationalization and implementation of the SAATM; one of the AU Agenda 2063 Flagship Projects.

This workshop follows the signing of two Grant Projects Agreements with African Development Bank (AfDB) with AFCAC on Institutional Support for Implementation of the SAATM, and European Unions (EU) with COMESA as a lead Regional Economic Community (REC) on the Support to Air Transport Sector Development (SATSD) in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and Indian Ocean Region (EA-SA-IO).

The workshop is expected to come up with a harmonized advocacy and Communication Strategy on the application, domestication and harmonization of the Continental Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) regulatory Instruments at RECs and National levels.

The Aviation Experts retreat was officially opened on Tuesday 8 March 2022, by the Deputy Director for Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA), Ms. Winnie NGAMIJE, on behalf of the Director General and the President of AFCAC, Mr. Silas UDAHEMUKA.

She underscored the need for cooperation between the organizations dealing with the liberalization of the air transport in Africa;

“Cooperation between AFCAC and the RECs is not optional, it is a must if aviation programmes on the continent are to succeed, we are therefore compelled to ensure that such cooperation is reinforced through harmonization of the work plans.” Ms. NGAMIJE stated.

The SAATM Project Implementation Unit Coordinator at AFCAC, Mr. Jean Paul MATSOUNGOU, in his opening remarks highlighted need for synergy creation among the two institutions stressing that “the two projects have similar objectives of implementation and operationalization of SAATM and thus the need to Create Synergy between AFCAC and COMESA for the full implementation of YD and operationalization of SAATM in the EA-SA-IO region in particular, and the African Continent in general so as to ensure realization of the AU Agenda 2063.”

In his Opening remarks, the Senior Transport Economist at COMESA, Mr. Bernard Dzawanda, said the establishment of SAATM and the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision provides opportunities for cooperation hence the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between COMESA and AFCAC.

He also highlighted other sectors of the economy that will benefit from the SAATM such as the tourism sector, industrial and trade sectors which rely heavily on Air transport. Growth of these sectors will positively contribute to GDP growth, with more citizens being able to afford air travel especially given the potential reduction in airfares.