On the sidelines of the just concluded 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, the continental body launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who took over leadership from Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, announced SAATM’s take-off on Monday noting that the implementation of SAATM and free movement of people and goods in Africa were his priorities for 2018.
SAATM is the first AU Agenda 2063 flagship project, which aims to create a unified air transport market to liberalise civil aviation on the continent and to advance Africa’s economic integration agenda.
According to the AU, passengers, the airline industry and aircraft manufacturers are set to benefit from SAATM while contributing to the attainment of Agenda 2063.
“Eligible airlines of the 23 countries are, effective this season, entitled to conduct their business into the markets and fully operate the traffic rights provided for in the Yamoussoukro Decision. It is a notable milestone since the adoption of the Yamoussoukro Decision in 1999,” AU noted.
The establishment of SAATM as a flagship project of the Agenda 2063 was adopted by the AU Assembly in 2015 and so far 11 AU member states have made a commitment to implement the Yamoussoukro Decision that provides for full liberalisation of market between African states, the free exercise of traffic rights, the elimination of restrictions on ownership and the full liberalisation of frequencies, fares and capacities.
To date, 23 AU member states including Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo and Cote d’Ivoire have adhered to the Solemn Commitment. Other are Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.