Daily Champion (Lagos)

Africa: Leaders Urge More Investments, Cooperation in Aviation Industry

Africa can become an excellent money spinner through Agriculture, tourism and passenger services by developing aviation and it is against this backdrop that leaders and top government officials in the continent have called for massive investment and cooperation in the sector among member nations.

President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, made this known speaking at the opening of a two-day conference in Dar Es Salaam pointing out that era where African nations operated individually under a protectionist mentality is over as it has only succeeded in stunting the growth of the continent's economy.

According to him, the time for action is now as European carriers are getting stronger threatening to drive African players out of the global aviation scene.

President Kikwete said excellent leadership, condusive investment environment and various forms of support for aviation remains the only way to combat the dominance of these European carriers stating that to grow aviation on the continent, African carriers must be more competitive.

Describing aviation as a catalyst for economic development, the Tanzanian President said Africa needs a lot of partnerships, cooperation and unity of purpose to succeed in the highly-capitalized sector.

He urged his fellow Presidents not to be wary in supporting the development of aviation, adding that various air treaties signed should be allowed to function optimally.

In his address, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren said the country has done a lot to improve safety and security, especially in the renewed terrorists' threat in the country and globally.

Demuren, who doubles as the representative of Nigeria's Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah also lamented over the high accident rate in Africa, calling for pragmatic steps to address the ugly situation.

He also said corruption has also played a major role in the stunted growth of Aviation in Africa, urging African leaders to look into the malaise.

"Our domestic markets are weak. Our airlines are also weak and cannot compete with European carriers. This should not be so because we have the market. We should dominate it and not be dominated", he said.

Minister of Transport, Botswana, Hon Frank Ramsden urged leaders in Africa to ensure the continent's airlines survive and compete effectively.

He called for alliances and cooperation as a way to develop the sector.

Ramsden lamented that the poor misrepresentation of facts by the European community, explaining that accidents records tend to put Africa on the spotlight when records true show otherwise.

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