HE Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy convened an extraordinary meeting of air transport ministers and key stakeholders on 15e April 2021 to discuss this issue of the green vaccine passport / certificates with the objective of agreeing a common African position and establishing a mechanism to properly communicate the position to responsible institutions and partners.
The meeting was co-chaired by HE Didier Manzengu Makangu, Minister of Transport of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairman of the AU Transport Sub-Committee and HE Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and energy
The meeting brought together African ministers in charge of air transport and their representatives from the following Member States: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana , Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Lesotho Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Tunisia, Togo, Senegal and South Africa.
Other high-level representatives of air transport institutions, regional economic communities and industrial partners from EAC, ECA, the group of African Ambassadors to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), other members of the ICAO AFI Group and ICAO Regional Directors, Secretary General of Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFRAA), Secretary General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), the Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Director of Africa CDC attended the meeting.
The main objective was to present to African air transport ministers the draft common position document on the issue of the vaccine passport and its implication in international travel with a view to making appropriate recommendations. All the participants confirmed their support for the African Common Position and the roadmap developed by the African Union Commission.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the AU Transport Sub-Committee, HE Didier Manzengu Makangu, welcomed the initiative taken by the African Union Commission to develop a common position on the issue of the vaccine passport and called for other air transport ministers to support the African Citizen Benefits proposal
The Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, informed the meeting that the various initiatives taken by the AU Department of Infrastructure and Energy in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Commission Africa (AFCAC), Africa CDC, ICAO, AFRAA, IATA and others Transport actors to ensure a sustainable restart and recovery of the African air transport sector face significant challenges, including travel bans and restrictions preventing African citizens from traveling to other continents. In addition, some developed countries have recently launched a Green Vaccine Passport / Certificate initiative, making it a mandatory entry requirement for African countries.
Ambassador Vincent Banda, Coordinator of the ICAO AFI Group, also expressed ICAO’s support for the AUC initiative and the African common position developed. He recalled that Recommendation 19 of the Working Group on Restoration of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) (CART) insists that vaccination should not be a prerequisite for international travel.
The meeting called on all countries in different parts of the world that have introduced or are in the process of introducing vaccine passports as a prerequisite for international travel to refrain from doing so given that so far the vaccine has not has not been widely produced. available as confirmed by WHO, and that the African continent still has a considerable number of its citizens who have not yet received the vaccines. The meeting also recommended that PCR testing or antigen testing be maintained as the only requirement until vaccines become widely available.
African member states were also encouraged to adopt digital testing to the extent possible as verifiable health certificates and as a trusted platform for traveler information and to coordinate all relevant stakeholders to implement the “Call to Action for a Safe Reopening of Borders” developed by the AU Multisectoral Working Group on “Saving Lives, Saving Economies and Livelihoods”.
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