Africa needs to establish a unified market for air transport to boost tourism and trade in the continent, according to a senior official of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Speaking during a recent workshop hosted in Egypt, Adikiny Olwenge, team leader at COMESA’s SATSD program, advocated for the development of an institutional framework for the environmental operation of communications and air transport under the COMESA and the Indian Ocean Region Program.
COMESA comprises 21 African member states that came together with the aim of promoting regional integration. The SATSD program aims to develop the air transport sector by activating the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), improving the efficiency of air navigation, and strengthening the regulatory and institutional capacity of civil aviation institutions within the COMESA grouping and Indian Ocean Region Program.
Olwenge also noted that the SATSD has received an 8 million euro grant from the European Commission in 2021, which are designed to help Africa to achieve these goals.
The SAATM is a flagship project of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, an initiative of the AU to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, the liberalization of civil aviation in the continent, and serving as an impetus to the AU’s economic integration agenda.
During the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the OAU / AU in 2013, the 55-member bloc’s leadership expressed the desire to give a stronger and more ambitious impetus to the Africa’s socio-economic development and integration agenda. On that occasion, the African Union Agenda 2063 was elaborated in which some flagship projects, including the creation of the SAATM and the African Passport, were selected and included on the basis of their high potential for changing the face of Africa substantively in that duration.