Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has said that Africa has resolved to implement a Single Air Transport Market in Africa (SAATM) to advance liberalization.

Sirika made this known during his closing remarks at a five-day International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2022) in Abuja on Friday.

Sirika said that SAATM, being a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, would boost the continent’s economic integration agenda.

According to him, SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic, and political integration, and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result.

The minister noted that SAATM was created to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.

“I am very excited as you spent about a week with us. I was equally excited for Nigeria to host this very important event.

“There are new developments that we derived from this, in particular, our resolve to implement Single Air Transport Market in Africa (SAATM).

“This is in the spirit of actualising Agenda 2063 which will unify and integrate Africa and connect its people, future, and posture.

“It will also open the borders to connect the whole world together.

“Aviation ought to play its role in connecting our markets, places, friends and families among others,“ the minister said.

He said the series of engagements and negotiations during the event indicated that the “ICAAN 2022 was delivered objectively. “

Sirika said achievement in human and services, improving in some Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) within the states during the event, would eventually co-increase air connectivity in Africa and globally.

Speaking, Republic of Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr Anthony Derjacques, said that SAATM would open up Africa’s skies and promote the value of aviation throughout the continent.

Derjacques further said that opening air arrangements would boost traffic, drive economies and create jobs.

In his own part, Mr Mohamed Rahma, the Director, the Air Transport Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), commended Nigeria and other stakeholders for their contributions towards a successful ICAAN 2022 event in Nigeria.

According to him, 63 states (47 in-person and 16 virtual), 417 participants (321 in-person and 96 virtual), were involved in the various meetings during the event.

Rahma said that ICAO’s long-term vision for international air transportation liberation was to improve social and economic needs, expand markets and state collaborations across the world.