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African countries striving to open up skies

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Staff writer ▼ | June 15, 2015
In an endeavor to recognize its potential and boost its aviation industry, African countries are striving to liberalise its skies, an AU official said.
Africa airplane
Flying   Single African airline market would employ 155,000
At least 12 African countries have already signed up agreements to open up their skies by 2017, said Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.

Ibrahim cited a recent World Bank study as saying that if implemented, the single African airline market among the 12 countries would generate about $1.3 billion annually and create more than 155,000 jobs.

The adoption of the policy to open up skies would improve safety, cut fuel taxes and allow for greater connectivity between African countries, Ibrahim told reporters on the sidelines of the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg.

Since the signing of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) which was adopted by the African Union in 1989 and which committed African governments to an open sky policy, more African countries are keen to be on board, Ibrahim said.

A very few African countries have adopted the open sky policies, and the negative results were evidenced by Africa's lack of economic growth in its share of international and, even, intra- continental commercial air traffic, said Ibrahim.

The reason why only a few African countries have adopted the open sky policy is that some of the countries wanted to protect their skies, according to Ibrahim.

But she noted that the "adaptation and implementation has shown that greater transport connectivity was an economic enabler".