Africa’s aviation set to take rightful place – ICAO
Mr Roberto Korbeh Gonzalez, President of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) says he is confident that aviation would play a major role in ensuring that Africa take its rightful place among the nations of the world.
Mr Gonzalez speaking at the just ended African Civil Aviation Commission 23rd Plenary Session held in Accra from April 2- April 5, he said Africa has a future that is as promising as it is challenging.
Citing the Economic Magazine, which published a special report on Africa, he stated that African lives had greatly improved over the past decade and predicted that it would be even better in the next 10 years.
He said the position, was supported by ICAO’s Global Air Transport Outlook, which found that from 1995 and 2010, the African economy experienced an annual expansion of 4.6 per cent and a population growth of 2.4 per cent, largely due to greater political and economic stability and development of natural resources.
The positive trend is expected to continue to 2030, Mr Gonzalez observed.
“All of these augers well for aviation in Africa. Our forecasts for the next 20 years is for passenger traffic to increase at an average annual rate of 5.3 per cent and freight traffic at 5.6 per cent, with the enormous economic, social and cultural benefits it will produce,” he stated.
He said: “That is the promise. Our challenge is to work together to make it happen.”
Mr Gonzalez noted that Africa would only realise the full potential in the civil aviation industry if governments and industry cooperate towards the sustainability of air transport system.
He noted that the ministerial conference held in Abuja last July set specific safety targets, such as the establishment and strengthening of autonomous civil aviation authorities with independent oversight bodies, sustainable sources of funding and sufficient resources.
A number of states had already met this target; he said and urged those who are yet to do so to work diligently to meet the December deadline.
He said significant progress had been made in the second target, which helped to eliminate Significant Safety Concerns (SSC).
As of 2008, 25 SSCs had been identified in Africa, eight were resolved through corrective actions by states, four by immediate actions by the state prior to being notified to other member states, which left 13 unresolved cases in nine states to be resolved by the end of 2013.
He called on stakeholders to follow through the political will expressed in Abuja to deal with the issue.
The third major target dealt with was the implementation of the critical elements of state’s safety oversight system as measured by ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme with the aim of ensuring that African states had an effective implementation score of at least 60 per cent of the world average.
“At the moment, 15 states have reached the target. The total is expected to reach 19 by the end of the year, 38 by the end of 2015 and all of them by the end of 2017” he said.
He pledged ICAO’s readiness to help all states to improve their effective implementation rates, adding: “Our Regional Directors in Dakar and Nairobi have worked with many states to prioritise their particular action plans and deliver tangible, long-lasting results. Our Technical Cooperation Programme is also there to support (the ) efforts.”