The New Times (Kigali)

18 July 2014

Rwanda: AFDB Boosts Comesa Aviation Project With Rwf10 Billion

Regional aviation industry could be enhanced, thanks to African Development Bank's support to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) airspace integration project.

COMESA has put in place a steering committee to undertake a study on how members can harmonise their aviation airspace and boost economic growth in the region.

The committee chaired by Rwanda, will also review terms of reference on how the project shall be implemented.

The project will cost $10million (about Rwf8billion), according to Dr. Abu sufian Dafalla, COMESA's Director for infrastructure.

"We expect to establish a robust legal and institutional framework, financially viable and technically feasible system that will accelerate the integration of airspace infrastructure development in the COMESA region," Dafalla said.

The project seeks to develop suitable legal and institutional requirements that will help establish a cooperative regional framework for a single seamless Airspace a cross the COMESA region.

The committee is expected to provide a detailed analysis of a strategic technical, financial and operation options for the provision of upper airspace navigation services and Air traffic management systems, Dafalla said.

Francois Kanimba, Rwanda's minister in charge of trade and industry, said, that integrating the region's Airspace systems will drive sustainable development for African economies and support local communities.

"A strong and vibrant aviation industry is vital for our economies to grow and thrive, however, to achieve this objective it will require contentious dialogue by all partner states and strategic infrastructure investments into the aviation industry," Kanimba said during the launch of the project in Kigali yesterday.

Kanimba, further noted that critical ground installations plus a harmonised global traffic control system is critical for regional trade.

Osman Ali Aymen, Chief Transport Engineer at the African Development Bank, said, that the banks' support is a quick reaction to the critical milestone in the development of Africa's aviation industry.

"Establishing a more interconnected air transport system is key to Africa's economic development. Our mandate is to continue supporting this project through building a sound regulatory framework, infrastructure development and harmonisation of Airspace within the region."

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