The Federal Government of Nigeria has been commended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for clearing the backlog of foreign airlines’ trapped funds which amounts to over $831 million.

Mr Kamil Al-Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East gave this commendation during his opening address at the IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa conference on July 2, 2024 taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In a statement by Tunde Moshood, SA Media and Communications to Keyamo, Mr. Al-Awadhi highlighted the negative impacts of trapped funds on foreign airlines in various countries and applauded Nigeria for its effective resolution of the issue. According to him, this decisive action has restored confidence in Nigeria within the global civil aviation community.

During a plenary session, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, highlighted the critical role of African Foreign Affairs Ministers in the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). He advocated the inclusion of Foreign Affairs Ministers in driving the full operationalization of these initiatives. 

He argued that since these ministers are responsible for setting the agenda for the African Union (AU) Summit, it is essential for them to prioritize the Yamoussoukro Declaration and SAATM to ensure political decisions are made to overcome existing challenges.

In his words, he said, “To make SAATM work, it is not African Civil Aviation Ministers alone to drive them, we need to mobilise the African Union to remove the domestic restrictions, as the political leaders in Africa are the ones bestowed with the power to give directive to their ministers on the way forward.” This suggestion was applauded by conference participants as a strategic approach to achieving the successful implementation and growth of civil aviation across Africa.

The IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference themed ‘Towards a More Resilient and Sustainable African Aviation,’ serves as a premier industry event in Africa, gathering aviation leaders, regulators, and subject matter experts to engage in discussions on the key challenges and opportunities in air transport.