By Juergen T Steinmetz
Published January 24, 2018
The much anticipated Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) shall be launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 28, 2018
“The launch of the Single African Air Transport Market will spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments … resulting in the creation of an additional 300 000 direct and two million indirect jobs,” Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, says.
Dr Abou-Zeid says the aviation industry currently supports eight million jobs in Africa and that SAATM was created with the aim of enhancing connectivity, facilitating trade and tourism, and creating employment.
SAATM is a product of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision of the African Union that was endorsed by 44 AU-partner states. The Yamoussoukro Decision provides for full liberalisation of market access among African States, free exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership and full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities.
Saying 23 out of 55 countries have so far subscribed to SAATM, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid says AUC “has been playing a key coordinating role in the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market and advocacy to AU Member States, who have not yet committed to the solemn commitment, to do so.”
AUC, African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and African Airlines Association (AFRAA) are all urging African countries to open their skies for enhancement of connectivity and efficiency of air services across the continent.
“As the first of the 12 African Union’s Agenda 2063 flagship projects to be launched, the implementation of SAATM will pave the way for other flagship projects as the African Passport and the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA),” Commissioner Abou-Zeid stresses.
The Declaration on the establishment of SAATM as a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063 was adopted by the African Union (AU) Assembly in January 2015.
The 23 AU member states that have adopted SAATM are Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.
This article, first published in eTurboNews, has been edited.