Uche Usim, Abuja
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Wednesday disclosed that air transport contributed about $55.8 billion to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while creating 6.2 million jobs.
President of the ICAO Council, Dr Bernard Aliu, who made the disclosure at the 50th anniversary celebration of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) in Dakar, Senegal described African aviation industry as one of the fastest growing in the world.
Aliu said; “In Africa today, air transport supports 6.2 million jobs and 55.8 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the African aviation market is one of the world’s most promising in terms of its overall growth potential, due largely to your emerging industrial sectors and steadily increasing population figures.
“In accordance with ICAO’s long-term traffic forecasts, passenger traffic for the Africa region is expected to grow by 4.3 per cent annually up to 2045, while freight traffic should also expand faster than world average, at 3.9 per cent annually over the same period.”
He also noted that “these increases should see aviation-related employment in Africa increasing to roughly 9.8 million jobs by 2036, and its air transport GDP impacts almost tripling to $159 billion over the same period.”
Certainly, these trends he said underscore the tremendous potential of well-managed and ICAO-compliant air transport growth to lift this continent into a new era of promise and prosperity.
“Air connectivity is a unique and indispensable catalyst for socio-economic growth, and one which facilitates mobility and contributes to the development of trade, tourism, and services both within Africa and between it and the world” he noted.
The direct routes air transport establishes between international destinations and markets has been recognized for its critical contn’butions to State’s achievement of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to the implementation of the African Union’s (AU’s) Agenda 2063 he explained.
Mr. Aliu however noted that “we must also recognize and act upon the fact that the current status of connectivity on this continent is still sub-optimal, and thus hindering the realization of the aviation benefits now awaiting African societies.