The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) yesterday awarded Rwanda with a certificate in recognition of the country's improved competencies in overseeing and managing safety and security in the aviation sector.
The president of ICAO Council, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, handed the certificate to the Minister for Infrastructure, Claver Gatete, on the sidelines of a four-day Africa Aviation Safety Management Symposium that opened in Kigali yesterday.
ICAO handed the certificate to Rwanda after it had last year audited the country's compliance with Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) indicators in line with the body's safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices.
After last year's audit, ICAO said that Rwanda had achieved an overall result of 74 per cent in terms of aviation safety controls, way above both African and global average.
In line with USOAP audit areas, ICAO's assessments last year looked at eight audit areas for Rwanda's aviation system, including the legal framework, civil aviation organisational structure, personnel licensing activities, aircraft operations and aircraft's suitability for safe flight, state of airports, air navigation services, as well as the capabilities to investigate accidents and serious incidents.
"These latest assessments looked at all eight Effective Implementation (EI) areas and confirmed that Rwanda had achieved an overall result of 74 per cent. This is the 6th highest score for any state in Africa and well-above the global average of 67 per cent," Dr Aliu said yesterday.
He also appreciated Rwanda's investments in developing human resource capacity and identifying the competencies required to continue improving their safety oversight system.
"Given my personal focus on human resources development and the next generation of aviation professionals, it is my great pleasure today to highlight that for the critical element related to the qualifications of technical personnel, Rwanda now has a very impressive EI result of 74 per cent," he said.
Receiving the certificate, Gatete said the award is an encouragement for the country's goal to continue improving its aviation industry and being part of Africa's Single Air Transport Market.
He emphasised that Africa must "get ahead of aviation safety risks" and that "Africans want and deserve reliable and safe air transport".
ICAO is a UN specialised agency that manages the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) and works with the Convention's 192 member states and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies.
The body's activities are in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.
The on-going Africa wide ICAO Symposium in Kigali has brought together more than 300 major actors in the aviation industry from across Africa and focuses on aviation safety management.
It is expected to provide a unique information-sharing opportunity for regulators, service providers, operational personnel and other aviation professionals involved in safety management activities.
The symposium also intends to provide participants with insight on how to effectively implement a State safety programme, conduct oversight of its service providers' safety management systems and promote collaborative efforts between regulatory authorities and service providers.