AFI week: Minister canvasses efficient air transport system for Africa
NNN: The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika on Monday, in Abuja, canvassed for a safe, secure and efficient air transport system across African countries.
Sirika made the call during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of Seventh Africa Flight Information (AFI) Aviation Week hosted by Nigeria in collaboration with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
According to the minister, such move will serve as a natural impetus for socio-economic development of the region and a means to support trade and tourism.
“Nigeria’s determination to host this meeting is borne out of the desire to support the growth of air transport in the region.
“It is also a part of ICAO’s efforts in facilitating the recovery process of the industry from the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is why this meeting is important to review the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and to take cognizance of digitalization and innovation which are now being highly embraced by the industry,” he said.
The minister added that such efforts to strengthen air transport system in Africa would also complement the Single African Air Transport Market and other initiatives of Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
The minister said that ICAO’s leadership based on collaboration and coordination with Member States and stakeholders ought to be commended.
He said that the ICAO`s leadership had encouraged Member States to collaborate and pool resources in resolving challenges, particularly in the area of enhancing safety in the Sub-region.
“An outcome is the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa, which metamorphosised in West Africa region into Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), in Abuja, hosted and substantially funded by Nigeria.
“This organization has continue to support the Member States in improving their safety oversight capabilities and human resource development,” he said.
Sirika appealed to Member States, the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and leadership of ICAO to revive the ICAO Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) that had remained inactive since 2018.
According to him, Nigeria generously contributed to the fund and equally benefitted from the inaugural secondment of officers to ICAO under the programme.
He said that the exposure, experience and knowledge gained by the officers attested to the usefulness of the HRDF programme.
“I wish to reassure that Nigeria will continue to support ICAO’s initiatives and collaborate with Member States and development partners on the development of air transport in Africa.
“I wish to raise the need to address issues of financing and modernization of aviation infrastructure in line with historic Declaration and Framework for Plan of Action for Aviation Infrastructure Development in Africa adopted at ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) in Abuja in 2017.
“It is important to recall that in accordance with ICAO Assembly Resolution A40-9, Appendix C Section II Article 7, Implementation of this declaration should be done under AFI Plan being hoped as agenda for this event,” he said.
He announced that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Singapore and AFCAC that would later take place to support training programs for aviation in Africa would be of great benefit to Africa continent.
The minister expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Government of Singapore for their partnership with AFCAC and commitment to ensure development of international civil aviation, particularly in Africa.
He further said that signature of MoU between Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Rwanda, also MoU between Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Sierra Leone would strengthen relationship between the countries.
The Director- General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, described AFI Aviation as the biggest regional conference ICAO had for the African region and the Indian Ocean.
According to him, AFI activities deal with Safety, efficiency, infrastructure development in Airports and Air navigation services.
“This programmes over the years have seen the tremendous improvement in both the safety and security facilitation in many African countries.
“It is importance for the implementation of AU Agenda 2063. One of the key components of the AU Agenda is Single Africa Air Transport Market,” he said.
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