Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Aviation, has urged African States to fully commit to the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market.
He said it was crucial for the achievement of the long-term vision of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, whose main goals are to accelerate socio-economic development and integration of Africa.
Mr Adda was speaking at the opening of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Aviation Forum in partnership with the Ministry of Aviation.
The two-day event is on the theme: “Aviation: Business for Regional Prosperity”.
The forum would address the most critical issues affecting aviation for Africa, with a particular focus on West and Central Africa; discuss economic development planning and the Role of Aviation as a driver, promoting sustainable Air Transport Solutions and Importance of Leadership and Coordinated Action for Aviation Development.
He said government had taken giant strides such as creating a dedicated Ministry of Aviation to ensure that no one was left out in terms of the benefits that society stands to gain from the air transport.
He said in 2018, the Aviation industry worldwide recorded 120,000 flights, carrying 12 million passengers and US$ 18.8 billion worth of cargo on a daily basis.
Mr Adda said a number of projects, including the ultra-modern Terminal three project at the Kotoka International Airport, modernization and scaling up of the Kumasi and Tamale Airports have been embarked upon.
“Modern Surveillance Equipment has also been installed to ensure safety and security in Ghana’s Flight Information Region,” he said.
He said government was also establishing a home-based carrier albeit in a more innovative and sustainable ownership and management arrangement, all in an effort to consolidate and stimulate growth to achieve its vision.
The Minister said Ghana is fully committed to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and aviation would have a prominent effect on the successful implementation of the CFTA.
He said the role of air transport as an enabler for the global economy could not be overemphasized and indeed, it remained the fulcrum around, which many critical global activities revolved.
Mr. Muhammad Al-bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East said Aviation was a key enabler for economic and social prosperity in Africa.
He said Ghana had passed a new civil aviation act to further improve safety and strengthen security, adding that aviation modernization was needed across Africa and Ghana, was a great example of how to do it effectively.
He said there was still a lot of work to be done in crucial areas both in Ghana and across the continent.
He said aviation in Africa needed deliberate, focused policies that would help the industry to consistently grow to its full potential.
Mr Al-bakri said aviation was strategic and had extremely important role in supporting Africa’s socio-economic development.
He said currently, air transport supported 6.2 million jobs and $55.8 billion of GDP in Africa and over the next 20 years, demand for air transport is expected to double, with 4.6 per cent annual growth, the second fastest of all IATA regions.
He said this translated to an extra 199 million-passenger journey per year in 2037 for a total market of 334 million passengers.
“Cargo volumes are also expected to double over the next years and Aviation also plays a central role in achieving 15 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The Vice-President Africa and Middle-East said it was exciting to note that Ghana had included aviation as part of its National Development Plans under the United Nations Sustainable Development Action Plan, one of the few countries on the continent to do so.
He encouraged others to follow, given the immense benefits that aviation could contribute to economic growth, development and job creation.
He said while it was evident that aviation in Africa had the potential to fuel trade and economic growth, several barriers existed including weak and costly infrastructure, high ticket prices, poor intra-Africa connectivity and a proliferation of taxes and charges.
The Vice-President said to move the African aviation forward; there must be a strong dialogue and partnership between government and the aviation industry, if “we are to deliver the economic and social benefits to our citizens.”