June 12, 2024

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African Nations Signatory to SAATM to Enjoy Better Deal from BASA with Nigeria

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Olorogun Festus Keyamo, 2nd left, Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, at the 2023 Aviation Africa Day Submit, Abuja. First right, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director General Civil Aviation, DGCA, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. Sept. 2023

As the federal government of Nigeria is resolved to review the existing Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASAs, signatories among African airlines whose national governments have signed off for the Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM, would enjoy generous consideration as the mind, soul, spirit, and letters of the reviewed BASA will be in consonance with the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decisions, YD, as agreed 24 years ago.

Olorogun Festus Keyamo, Aviation, and Aerospace Development minister, gave the assurance at the recently concluded commemoration of the 24th year after YD was in force, although very little has since been achieved.

The minster however hinted that the principle of reciprocity will hold sway in the proposed review which will not be at variance with the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) guidelines and would also align with the AFCAC efforts in the promotion of the implementation of ICAO’s International Standards and Recommended Practices, SARPs.

Keyamo urged for the need to speed up the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, YD, with regard to the Liberalization of Access to Air Transport Markets in Africa, which he said, “cannot be over-emphasized as it is crucial to the achievement of the long-term vision of the African Union”.

The Minister presented a very grim picture of an abysmally low achievement of YD 24 years later. He said among other things, “Presently, intra-Africa trade stands low at just 14.4% of total African exports. Though African airlines have recorded a 34.7% surge in passenger traffic over the past year, the continent’s global passenger market share remains modest at 2.1%” he said.

Barrister Adefunke Adeyemi, Secretary General, Africa Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, next with fez cap, Bar. Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, with other delegates to the 24th YD week and SAATM-PIP appraisal, Abuja. Nov. 2023

He expressed optimism for a plausible impact the Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM, could make in intra-African trade thus; “Therefore, the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a no-brainer in giving impetus to not just intra Africa trade, tourism, but SAATM would also reduce the continent’s trade deficit by 51%”, a cheering news the world is excitedly looking forward to its fruition.

Keyamo also highlighted the phlegmatic disposition of African states to the laudable benefits of SAATM if enthusiastically executed. He thus narrated that, “Statistics from the Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) shows that 37 Member States have so far subscribed to unconditionally implement the YD and SAATM, with 23 States signing the Memorandum of Implementation (MoI) for its operationalization”.

He further noted in his exposition, “The records also show that these 37 States account for more than 88% of intra-African traffic and more than 800 million people in Africa. Ladies and gentlemen, it is common knowledge that the success of the SAATM initiative depends on not just the commitment of individual countries, but also on collaborative efforts at the regional and continental levels”, what a tall order to AFCAC?

He highlighted what he intends to achieve in the domestic industry with the optimism that they will make Nigeria stand tall in the implementation of YD and SAATM protocols with the view to improving intra-African trade and the movement of Africans within the African continent.

He thus reiterated to his august audience, “Upon my resumption of office as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development in August this year, I made a commitment that this Administration would support policies and programs that will enhance the growth and development of the Aviation Industry in Nigeria.

The specifics Keyamo chronicled thus, “the commitment encapsulated in a five-point agenda include 1. ensuring strict compliance with national laws, safety regulations, and international obligations; 2. improvement and development of infrastructure for passenger convenience; 3. support for the growth and sustenance of local airlines businesses; 4. human capacity development and 5. optimization of revenue generation.

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