ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (ENA)–A cornerstone dedicated to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative by the African Union, to open up Africa’s skies and improve intra-African air transport, was laid at the head quarters of the AU in Addis Ababa.
The cornerstone was jointly laid by President Paul Kagame of the Republic Rwanda, the newly elected Chairperson of the African Union, and AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Speaking on the occasion, President Kagame said the SAATM project will play a significant role on implementing the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 – a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years.
“The project will further promote the unity and cooperation between African countries” President Kagame said. He called upon member countries to contribute their part for the successful implementation of the project.
Enhanced connectivity between African nations and a reduction in flight ticket prices, consequently, expected to result in more regular direct flights between African countries is an immediate benefit of the single air market, SAATM.
However, huge employment opportunity, improved intra-African trade and freer movement of people are the bigger picture of the initiative.
The aviation industry currently supports eight million jobs across the continent and the initiative is expected to create additional 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs.
The Single African Air Transport Market initiative, which was launched Sunday (28 January 2018) with 23 countries, was endorsed in 1999, commonly known as the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision.
*The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, the liberalisation of civil aviation in Africa and as an impetus to the Continent’s economic integration agenda. During the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the OAU / AU in 2013, the African Union (AU) leadership expressed the desire to give a stronger and more ambitious impetus to the Continent’s socio-economic development and integration agenda. On that occasion, the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 was elaborated in which some flagship projects were selected and included on the basis of their high potential for changing the face of Africa substantively in that duration. Among these projects are the creation of a Single African Air Transport Market and the African Passport.