Under the Federal Government of Nigeria as host, the NEPAD Agency co-organised together with the African Union Commission and ICAO the Third World Aviation Forum in Abuja, Nigeria.
Representing the NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki at the Forum, Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson who Heads NEPAD Agency’s Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme highlighted that the Agency has noted ICAO’s commitment over the years to develop civil aviation in Africa.
“ICAO’s continued efforts are proof of a vote of confidence for Africa and the belief that aviation will be an integral part of its overall development, particularly, in the infrastructure sector. It is because of this shared vision that we welcome this partnership between NEPAD and ICAO,” he said.
He added that, “The “NO Country Left Behind” (NCLB) Initiative that ICAO is implementing has been instrumental in the recent developments of the aviation sub-sector on the continent and NEPAD Agency sees this as a crucial area in which we can partner.”
The forum brought together high-level government officials responsible for aviation, transport and infrastructure, finance, economy, and tourism; and key industry and financial partners.
Themed “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure”, the event explored the benefits of the aviation sector to the social, economic development and prosperity of Member States.
Discussions also focused on identifying civil aviation needs and explored funding for the implementation of international civil aviation global standards and policies.
Mobilising long-term financial resources for aviation represents a great challenge for many States, especially given the strain on public finances and cost factors attributed to borrowing that exists in many developing countries.
Day two of the Forum was reserved exclusive for discussion on the prioritisation of aviation as a transport sub-sector in the Programme for Infrastructure Development 2020-2030. Unfortunately, out of the 433 PIDA Priority Action Plan projects that are being developed and implemented toward 2020, less than 1% of those projects deal with aviation.
Aviation is an important growth sub-sector for Africa as it contributes to increasing consumer benefits and choices, creating jobs, stimulating tourism and trade, et cetera, the increased connectivity that it delivers leads to further re-investment in aviation, creating a healthy cycle of aviation development and economic prosperity in those countries and regions which set out suitable planning and investment commitments.
The forum hosted for the first time in Africa is a testimony and a clear demonstration of the commitment to develop civil aviation in Africa.
Dr Mayaki and Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu President of ICAO are looking forward to a fruitful working relationship.