Iata’s top priorities for Africa

Iata forecasts that Africa will be a market of 350 million airline passengers by 2035 and has identified four priorities that they say must be addressed if aviation is to deliver maximum economic and social benefits for the countries on the continent. These are: safety, connectivity, blocked funds and smarter regulation.

“Global and African geopolitical and economic issues are beyond our direct control but there are four pressing concerns in Africa posing obstacles to a healthy and strong aviation system that can and must be addressed by governments and industry stakeholders,” says Muhammad Ali Al Bakri, Iata’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa.



“Last year, sub-Saharan Africa had its best performance in 10 years with no passenger fatalities or jet hull losses. This is a great achievement, but there is still much work to be done,” says Al Bakri.  

Iata urged airlines and governments in Africa to continue their commitment to the Iata Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). It has also called on African governments to continue raising their levels of adherence to the global standards of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and to accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS).  By the end of 2016, only 22 African countries had implemented at least 60% of the SARPS. 


“The value of intra-Africa connectivity cannot be stressed enough. It is invaluable in promoting and supporting the continent’s growth. Implementation of Africa’s visionary framework for enhancing connectivity across the continent, as envisaged in the Yamoussoukro Declaration, has been slow. This needs to change,” says Al Bakri. 

Iata welcomed the imminent launch of the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) by the African Union and urges Governments and industry to fully embrace the project to unlock the full benefits of aviation in Africa.


Blocked funds 

Blocked funds in Africa are an increasing problem, with carriers unable to repatriate their foreign currency earnings from nine African countries. Iata urged governments where currency is blocked to find practical solutions to release airlines’ funds in line with global standards and bilateral treaty obligations.

“Many of the countries with blocked funds are undergoing significant economic challenges. But blocking airlines’ funds is not the answer. Airlines are powerful economic enablers and if they cannot recover revenues that are essential to covering their costs, they will be unable to provide the connectivity that is vital for countries’ economic growth,” explains Al Bakri. 


Smarter regulation
Iata urges African governments to adopt its Smarter Regulation framework to avoid unintended consequences when designing or implementing aviation policies. 

“The recent proliferation of regulations across Africa, such as the tourism tax in Tunisia, have placed an undue burden on aviation’s ability to act as a catalyst for economic and social development. Iata’s Smarter Regulation is the solution to achieve growth-supporting policies for aviation and, ultimately, to boost social and economic development,” says Al Bakri. 

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