Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has emphasized the transformative potential of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). According to the minister, SAATM is poised to catalyze a remarkable 51% reduction in Africa’s trade deficit and a substantial increase in intra-continental trade among nations on the continent.
Speaking at the 24th Anniversary of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) Day Event in Abuja, Minister Keyamo highlighted the current scenario where intra-Africa trade constitutes only 14.4% of total African exports. Despite a notable 34.7% surge in passenger traffic for African airlines over the past year, the continent’s global passenger market share remains modest at 2.1%.
Minister Keyamo in his keynote address presented SAATM as a strategic imperative, asserting that it is not just a catalyst for intra-Africa trade and tourism but a visionary move that could significantly reduce the continent’s trade deficit by 51%.
He stated that Nigeria has made a commitment to the full implementation of SAATM through the SAATM-Project Implementation Pilot (SAATM-PIP).
The minister said he has given a directive for the review of all Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with African countries that are signatory to SAATM in line with the provisions of Yamoussoukro Decision and the principles of reciprocity.
He said: “Presently, intra Africa trade stands low at just 14.4% of total African exports. Though African airlines have recorded a 34.7% surge in passenger traffic over the past year, the continent global passenger market share remains modest at 2.1%. Therefore, the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a no- brainer in giving impetus to not just intra Africa trade, tourism, but SAATM would also reduce the continent’s trade deficit by 51%.
“Statistics from the Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) shows that 37 member States have so far subscribed to unconditionally implement the YD and SAATM, with 23 States signing the Memorandum of Implementation (Mol) for its operationalization. The records also shows that these 37 States account for more than 88% of intra-African traffic and more than 800 million people in Africa.
“Nigeria has made a commitment to the full implementation of SAATM through our commitment to SAATM-Project Implementation Pilot (SAATM-PIP). I have also directed that our Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with African Countries that are signatory to SAATM be reviewed in line with the provisions of Yamoussoukro Decision and the principles of reciprocity. Hence, this YD Anniversary Week celebration will enhance the discussion on the progress made on the SAATM-PIP roadshows, its implementation and monitoring.
“Furthermore, it is hoped that the YD Anniversary Week celebration would inspire countries signatory to SAATM (and who have not done so) to further remove restrictions on air services while those who have not signed the commitment to SAATM be encouraged to voluntarily join and commit to the principles of the open skies policy.”