The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has restated the importance of aviation in Africa revealing that air travel generates over $80 billion in GDP, transports over 70 million passengers a year and supports more than 6.9 million jobs on the continent.
It further said that over the next five years the African economy is forecast to grow at a strong 4.7% per year, well above the global average rate. For the continent to realize its full economic potential, aviation – particularly commercial air transport – must be prioritized.
The world airline body made this known as it announced the theme for the 2016 Aviation Day Africa (Abuja, Nigeria, May 23 – May 24, 2016): “Driving African Economies through the Power of Aviation.”
IATA in the statement said that the conference will bring together regional stakeholders to address current issues affecting aviation in Africa including the proliferation of taxes and charges, public-private partnerships, aviation, safety, security, next generation airports and market connectivity.
Vice President Africa, IATA, Raphael Kuuchi said, “Governments and organizations need to focus not only on national issues but also on the strategic development of pan-African aviation. Policies that promote investment in air transport infrastructure, improve safety and enhance air connectivity must be implemented. Aviation has the potential to make a much more significant contribution to economic growth and development within the continent if its power is unleashed.”
“The conference is a great opportunity for Africa’s key stakeholders to debate the industry’s most pressing issues and align actions to address the challenges. Through harnessing the power of aviation we will be helping to build a brighter future—not only for individual airlines and the air transport industry, but for all Africans, who will benefit with greater prosperity through jobs and opportunities,” said Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and The Middle East.
The Africa Day Conference speaker line-up reflects a broad spectrum of aviation stakeholders from governments, policy makes, regulators, airlines and manufactures.