The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for collaboration to boost the aviation sector in Africa.
The MoU was signed Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s World Aviation Forum, “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure” by IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
The aviation industry in Africa currently supports $72.5 billion in economic activity and 6.8 million jobs. Over the next 20 years, the industry is forecast to grow at nearly 6 percent per year.
“This creates significant opportunities. But achieving this potential will not happen by chance; strong partnerships are key. The MoU with AfDB will help facilitate the growth and development of Africa’s aviation industry. In so doing, it will expand prosperity and change peoples’ lives for the better in the continent’s 54 nations,” de Juniac told the African Aviation Ministers, Africa aviation industry experts, and airline executives present at the signing ceremony.
Under the MoU, IATA and the AfDB will work in partnership to further Africa’s economic and social development by helping build a safe, secure and efficient aviation industry. The two organizations commit to create and implement programs and projects, including technical cooperation for capacity building. Priority areas will include improving connectivity, safety and aviation infrastructure.
“The aviation sector is especially important as it opens up doors to investors,” said Adesina. “Very few invest where it’s difficult to travel to. That’s why ease of access via air travel is strongly correlated to economic growth. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience.”
“From Abuja, a new voice has arisen through this partnership: Africa’s aviation time has come! Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies,” he said.
The African Development Bank has invested close to $1 billion over the past decade in the construction and expansion of airport terminals, as well as aviation safety and aircraft financing. Additional Bank interventions in the aviation industry include grants for capacity building and coordination systems in 25 countries and 69 airports, that will help increase the number of International Civil Aviation Organization safety and security compliant airports from 3 to 20 by 2019.