[dropcap]A[/dropcap][facebook]t the Aviation Africa 2019 Civil Aviation Summit taking place in Kigali today, ICAO affirmed that Africa’s emergence as one of the world’s fastest growing air transport markets is predicated on a deepening of regional cooperation and investment toward the implementation of ICAO’s strategic plans, standards, and other guidance materials.
On behalf of the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Barry Kashambo delivered the encouraging remarks to the attending aviation ministers and CEOs in a keynote address.
As air connectivity is a crucial catalyst for local and global development, the realization of traffic growth projections will provide significant contributions towards the sustainable development of aviation in Africa, notably in terms of the achievement of the African Union and the United Nations’ respective goals. Reflecting this, ICAO has strongly encouraged bilateral and multilateral co-operation in support of aviation development in recent years.
“Under our No Country Left Behind initiative, for example, and in close cooperation with appropriate State authorities, the African Union Commission (AUC), African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), IATA and other key industry stakeholders, ICAO provides distinct assistance and programmes to promote country-by-country ICAO compliance with the Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPs),” Kashambo explained.
“In addition to our Global Plans and assistance work, ICAO undertakes the implementation of regional and national capacity-building initiatives and pursues these directly with African governments to address both known and emerging challenges to the safety, security and efficiency of air transport operations.”
ICAO compliance underpins the safety, security, and sustainability of international air connectivity. It is therefore key to accessing the global civil aviation network. ICAO auditing provides strategic insights as to the levels of compliance within each of its 192 member States, enabling States to prioritize areas for improvement.
In turn, ICAO auditing and guidance gives States the capacity to identify the resources needed for enhancements to airport and air navigation infrastructure, the implementation of new air traffic management technologies, human resources development, and the realization of intermodal projects.
“While many African States have now established effective safety and security oversight capacities in their territories, and no fatal accidents were recorded in either 2016 or 2017 here in Africa, ICAO audits of government oversight in these areas continue to reveal that a number of States are faced with challenges when it comes to assuring their ICAO compliance,” Mr. Kashambo highlighted. “In order to address these shortfalls in a collective and sustainable manner, political and government commitments coupled with a cohesive and focused approach involving all stakeholders are key prerequisites.”
In addition to cooperation through multilateral bodies, ICAO also encouraged delegates to take note of the importance of the regional coordination mechanisms which permit groups of States to pool and share their resources to prepare for growth.
Looking forward, Director Kashambo highlighted human resource development as an area of particular concern, noting that ICAO audits have revealed that a lack of adequately trained and qualified personnel is one of the biggest challenges faced by African civil aviation authorities. He accordingly called for heightened investment in aviation training organizations and the Association of African Training Organizations (AATO).
The Summit will close tomorrow.