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Aviation industry contributes $72.5b to Africa’s GDP, but countries must open skies

Plane2The aviation industry is said to contribute $72.5 billion to Africa’s GDP, and across the continent, it supports 6.8 million jobs.

A new report by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) says worldwide, aviation supports 62.7 million jobs and generates $2.7 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP).

“The air transport sector also provides significant economic benefits, playing a major role in the social development of people and communities all over the globe, allowing people to travel for educational opportunities and cultural exchange, more broadly. Across Africa, specifically, air transport supports 6.8 million jobs and contributes $72.5 billion to the African continent’s GDP,” the report says.

Citing forecasts, the report says in the next 20 years, aviation-supported jobs worldwide will increase to over 99 million and GDP to $5.9 trillion.

“Africa is the second-fastest growing region in the world as far as international air traffic is concerned. However, the overly strict regulatory environment in the region must be simplified if Africa’s true economic potential is to be realised. For decades, industry leaders have been urging governments in Africa to unlock this potential by moving ahead with the policy of open skies in the region, allowing aviation services to flourish and continue to support growth. Industry costs in Africa, including passenger fees, are among the highest in the world. These regulatory arrangements should be improved,” the report notes citing industry experts in the region.

Speaking to journalists at the just-ended AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, at a side event with The African Editors’ Forum, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called on African governments to open up the skies.

“There is no open skies among African countries, and as a result, Africa has lost 40 per cent of the global aviation market. It has only 20 per cent,” she said, adding, “there is cost to not implementing decisions to open up the skies.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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