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Keyamo Advocates For Inclusion Of African Foreign Affairs Ministers In SAATM Implementation

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The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN.
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, has called for the inclusion of African foreign affairs ministers in driving the full implementation and operationalisation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

Keyamo made this appeal during a plenary discussion on the implementation of YD and SAATM.

He emphasised that African foreign affairs ministers, who are responsible for setting the agenda for the African Union (AU) Summit, need to be sensitised on the importance of prioritising YD and SAATM for political decision-making. He argued that African leaders must address the challenges preventing full operationalisation and that the responsibility should not fall solely on ministers responsible for civil aviation.

“To make SAATM work, it is not up to African civil aviation ministers alone. We need to mobilise the African Union to remove domestic restrictions, as the political leaders in Africa have the power to direct their ministers on the way forward,” Keyamo stated. This recommendation was well-received by participants, who agreed it was a crucial step toward successfully operationalising these programmes aimed at connecting Africa and growing civil aviation on the continent.

In related news, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) commended the Nigerian government for clearing over $831 million in trapped funds of foreign airlines within the short tenure of the current administration. The regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East at IATA, Mr. Kamil Al-Awadhi made this commendation during his opening address at the IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa event on July 2, 2024, in Johannesburg, South Africa. He highlighted the negative impact of trapped funds on foreign airlines in some countries but singled out Nigeria for its swift resolution, which has boosted confidence in Nigeria among the global civil aviation community. His remarks were applauded by participants, including top government officials, airline representatives, air navigation service providers, international and regional associations, aircraft manufacturers and other stakeholders in global civil aviation.

The IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference, themed “Towards a More Resilient and Sustainable African Aviation,” serves as a premier industry event in Africa. It gathers aviation leaders, regulators, and experts to discuss key challenges and opportunities in air transport. The conference started on July 2 and concluded on July 3, 2024.

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