African countries will face significant but surmountable challenges as the air transport sector doubles its passenger and flight volumes over the next 15 yearsConsistent with the UN aviation agency’s ongoing prioritization of the effective implementation in all States of global civil aviation’s standards and policies, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu conducted a wide range of high-level meetings and consultations while visiting Ethiopia last week.
President Aliu was in Addis Ababa for the 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, and the 26th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, and was joined on the occasion by ICAO’s Regional Directors for its Eastern and Southern African and Western and Central African Offices, Messrs. Barry Kashambo and Mam Sait Jallow, respectively.
A key goal of the President’s visit was to continue to generate political will in support African States’ fundamental capacities for aviation safety and security oversight, air transport infrastructure modernization, training and skilled human resources development, and improved liberalization and open skies through greater multilateralism. Special focus in the training area was placed on taking better advantage of Africa’s Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), as well as aligning related goals with the recent AU prioritization of empowering women and greater opportunities for youth.
President Aliu took the opportunity of the high-level AU Addis Ababa events to hold a number of bilateral meetings in support of these and other goals with Heads of State, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and a number of other senior government, UN and international and regional officials. Ms. Iyabo Sosina, the Secretary General of African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), joined President Aliu for the bilateral meetings.
The Heads of State met during his visit included the President of Namibia, H.E Hage Geingob; the President of Djibouti, H.E Ismaïl Omar Guelleh; the President of Liberia, H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and the President of Dr. Aliu’s home State of Nigeria, H.E Muhammadu Buhari. Views were also exchanged with the Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the African Union.
In addition, meetings were held with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham Ibrahim; AU Commissioner for Political Affarirs, Aisha Abdullahi; the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr. Carlos Lopes; the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinwumi Adesina; and the Chief Executive Officer of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki.
President Aliu also met with the Minister of Transport of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Workneh Gebeyehu, senior management of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Ethiopian Airlines and the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise, and was pleased to be provided a visit to Ethiopian airport, maintenance and training facilities.
Throughout these many discussions, President Aliu consistently emphasized the need to strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation in Africa, in order to achieve the objectives of ICAO’s “No Country Left Behind” initiative and better enable African States to be able to access and prosper from the benefits of safe and rapid global air transport connectivity. There was also general agreement in many instances on the need for intensified cooperation between ICAO the many agencies now focused on optimizing African development cooperation and coordination.
“ICAO is grateful to Ethiopia for hosting this visit, and for the determined cooperation it and other African states offer towards finding multilateral solutions to civil aviation challenges,” Dr. Aliu commented.
“Like all ICAO Member States, African countries will face significant but surmountable challenges as the air transport sector doubles its passenger and flight volumes over the next 15 years. They will, however, be able to count on our cooperation to foster conditions that enable the necessary infrastructure modernization and skilled personal development to take place, consistent with our ‘No Country Left Behind’ priorities.”