NAMIBIA is to host a new aviation organisation that is to harmonise aviation safety in all African countries and establish common technical standards and regulations for the continent.
"It took about four years of active lobbying on the side of the Namibian government, but eventually we were successful," Mwangi waKamau, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the African Civil Aviation Agency (Afro-CAA) told reporters yesterday.
"The good transport infrastructure in Namibia and its location, which is within easy reach of other countries, make it ideal to host the headquarters," he said at a media briefing.
The Agency will be officially launched tomorrow in the presence of several transport ministers from other African countries.
"We will bring all civil aviation standards on par with those in Europe and the US," waKamau, who hails from Kenya, added.
Works and Transport Minister Joel Kaapanda that five regional offices of Afro-CAA would also be established.
"They will be located in South Africa for the southern African region, in Nigeria for West Africa, Cameroon for Central Africa, Ethiopia for East Africa and a fifth regional office in Libya for North Africa."
According to Kaapanda, funding for the operations of the Agency would come from membership fees all African countries would have to pay and from overflight fees.
Namibia will be exempted from membership fees, because it hosts the head office.
Flight Captain Harry Eggerschwiler has been appointed as Chief Operations Officer.
According to Bethuel Mujetenga, Director of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, the plan is to equip all African airports with radar and other modern air-traffic control and communications equipment by 2010.