GENEVA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) published a report setting out the considerable social and economic benefits of intra-African air service liberalization.
The report, by the experienced independent economic consultants InterVISTAS, outlines the benefits that would accrue if 12 African nations were to implement the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision. The 12 nations in the report are: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda. The Yamoussoukro Decision committed 44 signatory countries to deregulating air services and to opening regional air markets to transnational competition. The implementation of this agreement, however, has been slow, and the benefits have not been realized.
“This report demonstrates beyond doubt the tremendous potential for African aviation if the shackles are taken off. The additional services generated by liberalization between just 12 key markets will provide an extra 155,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual GDP. A potential five million passengers a year are being denied the chance to travel between these markets because of unnecessary restrictions on establishing air routes. Furthermore, employment and economic growth are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits of connectivity. Aviation is a force for good, and plays a major role in helping to reach the African Union’s mission of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Aviation already supports 6.9 million jobs and more than $80 billion in GDP across Africa. The InterVISTAS research demonstrates that liberalization will create opportunities for further significant employment growth and economic development. The jobs and GDP impact for the 12 countries in the study are listed in the table below.
|Nation||Additional Employment||Additional GDP (USD)|
|South Africa||14,500||283.9 million|
"The study clearly highlights the crucial role air transport plays in driving economic and social development in Africa through enhanced connectivity. Governments should support the growth of the industry by fully liberalizing African skies as intended by the Yamoussoukro Decision, while providing other facilitator assistance like implementing global standards in safety, security and regulations, reducing high charges, taxes and fees and removing visa requirements for ease of movement across the continent," said Dr. Elijah Chingosho, Secretary-General of the African Airlines Association.
“Africa represents a huge potential market for aviation. It is therefore unfortunate that African states are opening their aviation markets to third countries but not to each other, which does not promote the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision. This isn’t just holding back African aviation, but African economies. This important new report developed in collaboration with IATA, AFRAA and our key regional partners provides compelling facts and figures which should send a powerful message to States and their key decision makers such as Finance, Tourism and Trade ministries across the continent to place aviation at the heart of their economic development and national planning growth strategies,” said Ms. Iyabo Sosina, Secretary-General of the African Civil Aviation Commission.
“It is essential that African governments use aviation as a critical driver of social and economic development. The Yamoussoukro process has been ongoing for decades - Africa cannot afford to delay its implementation any longer. Greater connectivity leads to greater prosperity. I am an optimist for Africa - but we need governments to act on their commitments, and set aviation free,” Tyler said.
Photo caption: Johannesburg International Airport.