ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu highlighted this week that African States, with ICAO’s assistance and support, are achieving significant progress in complying with international civil aviation standards, but that much more can and should be achieved to help them better optimize the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and efficient global air transport connectivity.
Her message was delivered to the hundreds of government and air transport participants from 36 states and 21 international and regional organizations to the Fourth ICAO Africa and Indian-Ocean (AFI) Aviation Week, which was held from 22 to 25 May. The series of meetings was jointly organized this year by the Government of Botswana and ICAO under the theme “Strengthening aviation as a driver to economic and social development.”
The 2017 AFI Aviation Week provided an opportunity to jointly assess AFI Region’s challenges, and to harness applicable opportunities to pursue the global and regional goals. The participants recognized the improved level of compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) by several States as well as the commitments and actions taken by a number of them to resolve Significant Safety and Security Concerns (SSCs and SSeCs) identified through ICAO’s Safety And Security Oversight Audits.
“Since the last AFI Aviation Week, an increasing number of States have accepted ICAO Plans of Action, the implementation of which has resulted in an increase in the number of States that have attained and improved upon the 60% minimum EI target in ICAO’s Global Aviation Safety Plan,” Dr. Liu remarked. Pointing out the challenges ahead, Dr. Liu highlighted the importance of ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, and the support of its Regional Offices in realizing its assistance and capacity building objectives, while recognizing the contributions of Botswana’s regional leadership on aviation developmental issues. “I would like to recall that the attainment of this target by at least 80% of States, and the resolution of all outstanding SSCs, are the key safety Goals for the AFI Region in 2017,” she highlighted.
The Secretary General then took the occasion to present Botswana with an ICAO Council President Certificate of Recognition for its recent efforts and the results achieved during the 2016 ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme cycle.
Looking forward, the Secretary General stressed the associated need for greater allocation of resources, particularly towards the Human Resources Development Fund for Africa (HRDF).
“Under the HRDF, voluntary contributions are being used today to assure the skilled personnel required for future operational efficiency and continuous implementation of ICAO SARPs, and other programme activities in the civil aviation sector,” Dr. Liu remarked. “This is a very important capacity-building initiative for Africa’s civil aviation sector, and I would like to encourage support from States, industry partners and other interested parties.”
Dr. Liu further extended a special acknowledgement to ASECNA Member States (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo), as well as China, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sudan, Turkey, and United Republic of Tanzania, for having already made significant contributions in support of the HRDF.
While in Botswana, Dr. Liu also undertook high-level bilateral discussions with Botswana’s President and Head of State, H. E. Ian Khama, his Minister of Transport and Communications, the Hon Onkokame Mokaila, and the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana, Messrs Mark Sampson and Geoffrey P. Mashabesha, respectively. She also took the opportunity of being in the Region to hold a bilateral meeting in Cape Town with the Hon Mkhacani Joseph Maswanganyi, the Minister of Transport of South Africa where matters related to aviation status in the State and support to other States in the region were discussed. South Africa’s Representative on the ICAO Council Mr. Tshepo Peege attended the meeting.