Senior Business Reporter
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on African countries to implement the 1990 Yamoussoukro agreement for the open skies policy saying the aviation industry on the continent was generating $73 billion per year.
Officially opening the third International Civil Aviation Organisation forum in Abuja, Nigeria last week, AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina expressed concern over the slow implementation of the Yamoussoukro declaration.
He said while 20 countries have signed including Zimbabwe, the 27-year old accord still faces implementation challenges.
“Rigid bilateral air service agreements have made it difficult to liberalise the regional aviation markets. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience,” said Dr Adesina.
He noted that air transport promotes trade, investments and tourism, and boosts economic growth on the continent adding that the aviation sector contributes $73 billion to the continent’s annual Gross Domestic Product employing about seven million people – an average 130 000 people per country in Africa.
Dr Adesina said the aviation industry was projected to grow by five percent annually for the next 20 years.