AfDB rallies African countries to improve air connectivity

President, African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina (left) during the signing of MoU with Director General/Chief Executive Officer, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexander de Juniac, at the third International Civil Aviation Organisation’s ( ICAO) World Aviation Forum in Abuja. Photo: Lucy Ladidi Elukpo.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for bold actions to improve connectivity, market access, and cost reduction in Africa’s aviation sector.

AfDB’s Vice-President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Pierre Guislain, made this call at the third ICAO World Aviation Forum in Abuja.

The AfDB partnered with the Nigerian government, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency to co-host the just concluded third International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) World Aviation Forum in Abuja.

The Bank has also reiterated its commitment to partner with stakeholders to boost the continent’s aviation sector.

Guislain emphasised the critical role aviation can play to boost economic growth by integrating the continent’s fragmented markets.

According to him, “In the past 10 years, AfDB has provide about N306 billion ($1 billion) to the African aviation sector.  We have invested in airport construction or expansion in Morocco, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Ghana or Kenya, and in the improvement of air safety and navigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and West and Central Africa. We have also provided financing for aircraft acquisition by Ethiopian Airlines and Air Cote d’Ivoire.”

He said despite the investment and Africa’s fragmentation with major economic centres geographically far from each other, the low level of connectivity and absence of significant airline hubs remains a real challenge for business people and ordinary Africans.

“We all know that travelling in Africa remains inconvenient and costly. Today, a two and half hour flight from Lilongwe and Johannesburg costs three times more than a similar flight from Rome to London, for example,” he noted.

Opening intra-African aviation and lifting remaining traffic restrictions is still a priority nearly 20 years after the Yamoussoukro Decision signed by 44 countries.



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