International Partners for Aviation Development, Innovation and Sustainability (iPADIS) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that establishes a framework for mutual cooperation on the future sustainable development of civil aviation on the African continent.
Specific areas covered by the MoU include the development of international civil aviation through aviation and inter-modal transportation master planning covering safety, security, air navigation, air transport, environmental protection, passenger health, legal, and human resources.
The aviation infrastructure development, including airports, air navigation, regulatory, operations, and training facilities, as well as sustainable aviation fuels, green technologies, and market-based measures.
Other areas include progressive aviation technologies such as drones, urban air mobility, electric, hydrogen, and solar-powered aircraft, e-passports, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and other AI applications, in order to facilitate equality of access and non-discriminatory application of new technologies; youth development and gender equality in the field of international civil aviation.
The MoU also includes accessibility to persons with disabilities, humanitarian assistance, and prevention of sexual harassment, unruly behaviors, human trafficking, transport of illicit substances and endangered species; and robust protection for the rights of consumers, victims of accidents, and the general public.
Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated that “Nigeria’s determination to host the high-level ministerial meeting was borne out of the desire to find a lasting solution to the challenges of the sector in our sub-region, especially at a time when the industry is unprecedentedly being impacted by COVID- 19, resulting in depressed travel demands and disruptions of businesses globally.”
Sirika called on states to address the issue of financing and modernization of aviation infrastructure and to attract support from private investors by “building a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate, as well as by including aviation in national development plans.”
The forum also recognized that the current COVID-19 crisis further underscores the importance of inter-sectoral collaboration and synergies between air transport and other sectors of the economy such as tourism, trade, finance, public health, immigration, and border control and that opportunities and threats in those sectors have a significant impact on the strength and growth of air transport and vice versa.
They identified the need for regional collaboration for immediate development and implementation of harmonized air travel-related public health policies and protocols as well as joint action to ensure that the interest of the region, its citizens, and operators are not unduly or discriminatorily impacted by air travel policies and protocols, implemented by foreign governments and international organizations in the wake of COVID-19.
Founding President of Ipadis and past President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said: “This agreement with AFCAC furthers our shared objective to enhance the contribution of air transport to economic growth and social progress for African people and businesses. AFCAC values a collaborative approach with iPADIS in supporting its Member States to develop sustainable civil aviation systems at the national and continental levels. This agreement further strengthens this position”, said Tefera Mekonnen, Tefera, Secretary-General of AFCAC.