President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo is planning to convene a ministerial meeting in Lomé, in May 2018, bringing together all key stakeholders to take forward the commitments made by African Union (AU) Member States regarding the Single African Air Transport Market.
Togolese Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Ninsao Gnofam revealed this when he called on AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to deliver a message from President Faure Gnassingbe related to the decision of the January 2018 Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly which appointed him as Champion for the Single African Air Transport Market initiative.
Effective implementation of the initiative will render the recourse to bilateral air service agreements among African countries unnecessary.
Mr Mahamat has expressed gratitude to President Faure Gnassingbe for having accepted to assume the role of Champion for the Single Air Market, which, along with the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport, is key to the integration of the continent.
The Chairperson said that he looks forward to the President’s leadership and support for the implementation of this flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, including the designation of regional Champions to strengthen advocacy.
While noting that 25 Member States are now part of the Single Air Market and that others have already indicated interest in joining it, the Chairperson stated that a large membership is essential for the expected huge economic benefits to materialize.
The Chairperson and the Togolese minister also underlined the need to address the challenges facing the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), which is the designated Executing Agency for the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision on the liberalization of air transport markets in Africa and the Single Air Market.
Critical in this respect, the AUC said in a statement on Wednesday, is the need for the expeditious appointment of a substantive Secretary-General for AFCAC.