At a recent continent-wide meeting of over 150 African aviation leaders, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano stressed that national regulators could play an important leadership role by fully capitalizing on the liberalization and environmental sustainability opportunities available to them. The President advocated for these objectives during the two-day 34th Extraordinary Plenary Session of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), hosted in Senegal.
Opening remarks and goodwill messages were also delivered at this occasion by Mr. Mohamed Moussa, Director-General of the Agency for Aerial Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), Dr Amani Abu-Zeid, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, and Mr. Silas Udahemuka, President of AFCAC and Mr. Sidy Gueye, Director-General of Civil Aviation of Senegal.
Emphasizing the need to establish sufficient training capacities to adequately address Africa training needs, Mr. Sciacchitano highlighted that “with its enormous natural and human resources, and a blue-sky attitude towards the adoption of emerging aviation technologies, Africa is well positioned to contribute to global leadership as the next revolution in air transport takes shape.”
The Council President’s remarks served to highlight how Africa is currently poised to champion the development and production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), which would directly support more sustainable aviation and goals of the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
In tandem, the African Union’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which was established in support of the effective implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision, holds the promise of “stimulating improved mobility, trade, tourism, and services, both within Africa and with the rest of the world”, he said.
Mr. Sciacchitano also underscored the importance of capitalizing on sustainable development opportunities at the national and regional levels, noting that air transport plays a unique and vital role as a development catalyst, and will play an essential role in achieving the goals of African Union’s Agenda 2063, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
ICAO is strongly committed to supporting progress towards these objectives, particularly through its No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative, and the ICAO Council President additionally pointed to the significance of the ICAO AFI Plan and AFI SECFAL Plan for safety and security respectively, and to the 2021 ICAO-AFCAC Project Implementation Agreement (PIA).
During his mission to Senegal, the President held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Alioune Sarr, Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of Senegal, which was attended by ICAO’s Regional Directors of Western and Central Africa (WACAF) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF), Mr. Proper Zo’o-Minto’o and Mr. Barry Kashambo, respectively. The President expressed ICAO’s gratitude for Senegal’s contributions towards ICAO’s objectives regionally and globally, including through its hosting of ICAO’s WACAF Regional Office. He also visited the new United Nations complex currently being constructed by Senegal, where ICAO’s WACAF team will eventually reside.