" Africans are so fascinated to hear about the single African Air Transport Market(SAATM) as it expedites the economic integration in the continent ," said Dr.Degye Goshu, Associate Professor of Economics Department of Economics at Kotebe Metropolitan University.
In his recent interview with The Ethiopian Press Agency ,he reiterated that if all African countries put in to effect SAATM as early as possible, their overriding aspirations and goals depicted in Agenda 2063 will become true.
He also noted that SAATM would create single unified air transport market in Africa via liberalizing civil aviation and removing tariff and non-tariff barriers . " It as well stimulates the flow of private capital into the civil aviation industry."
Speaking of the advantages of SAATM, he indicated that it would play a major role in connecting Africa for attaining social, economic and political integration and enhancing trade among African countries.
Moreover,improved intra-Africa connectivity facilitates business and trade, enables tourism, connects people, and promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas,he added.
As to him, SAATM has wider economic benefits of enhanced connectivity in terms of creating fast mobility transition , dynamic business climate and opportunity for competitive civil aviation industry as well as increased foreign direct investment
Pointing out the challenges in implementing SAATM , Dr.Degye said some people think that SAATM would reduce domestic jobs from the increased air connectivity of countries with weak airlines while strong airlines with better global experiences may outsource jobs to emerging markets without adequate labor protections..
He ,however ,said that SAATM would create a sustainable competitive advantage to countries with strong airlines like Ethiopian.
"The fate of SAATM may be determined by the AU's capacity and willingness to increase accountability of member states for continental policies and implementation of the open sky market policy across the entire continent."
It is to be recalled that the free market covers 23 countries Benin, Botswana, Burkina ,Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia,Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.