International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Africa is set to be one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years, with annual expansion averaging nearly 5 percent.
This, it says, opens up incredible economic opportunities for the continent’s 54 nations.
By transporting some 70 million passengers annually, IATA states that aviation already supports some 6.9 million jobs and $80 billion of economic activity on the African continent.
The body however calls on African governments to prioritise the development of aviation nationally and at a pan-Africa level to bolster economic growth and development.
“Aviation has the potential to be a much greater strategic catalyst for growth if governments would stop milking the industry for taxes and enable it with smarter regulations focused on safety and the development of connectivity.
“The commitments are already there with the Abuja Declaration and the Yamoussoukro Decision. It’s time to achieve them in partnership with industry,” said IATA Regional Vice President Africa & Middle East.
Nigeria’s minister for aviation, Hadi Abubakar Sirika, said: “Enhanced Air Transport Connectivity is unarguably the key condition for any State’s progress and transformation. Studies have shown that there is clear correlation between connectivity and economic performance.
“In addition, improved connectivity attracts inward investment, which enables access to export markets and opens countries up to competitive forces. Air transport is a facilitator of international business and trade. Improved connectivity means more access to cities, markets, business and people as well as the integration into global supply chains, an important factor to attracting inward investment into any country.”