Amina Isah, Abuja
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that effective implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market Initiative (SAATM) would boost the economy of Africa by creating 155,000 jobs with an annual GDP of US$1.3 billion.
The Vice President, International Air Transport Association in Africa, Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, stated this in a statement issued on Sunday.
He noted that the group wants more attention on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative by the African Union (AU).
According to him, “We welcome the initiative as it will open up Africa’s skies and improve intra-African air connectivity.
“Enhanced connectivity will stimulate demand, improve the competitiveness of the African airline industry, and make air travel more accessible. In turn, this will enable higher volumes of trade, expanded tourism and growing commerce between African nations and with the rest of the world.”
“The SAATM has the potential for remarkable transformation that will build prosperity while connecting the African continent. Every open air service arrangement has boosted traffic, lifted economies and created jobs.”
The statement further reads: “We expect no less in Africa on the back of the SAATM agreement. An IATA survey suggest that if just 12 key African countries opened their markets and increased connectivity an extra 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries,” said Rapahel Kuuchi, IATA’s Vice President for Africa.
“IATA commend the 23 States that have signed up to SAATM. It is an important step forward. But the benefits of a connected continent will only be realized through effective implementation of SAATM—firstly by the countries already committed and also by the remaining 32 AU member nations still to come on board.”
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