Director General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority says aviation is a key enabler of socio-economic development; therefore governments in Africa must take the opportunity to invest in the sector.
He made this statement during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Aviation Forum for West and Central Africa held in Ghana. The theme “Aviation: Business for Regional Prosperity” saw the need for panelists to discuss possible plans to improve on the Air Transport industry in the region.
DG Baio said an improved Air Transport system would provide significant social benefits in Africa by facilitating tourism and trade, promoting culture, boosting careers, providing jobs, and increasing revenues from taxes to trigger economic growth.
“Investing in Aviation Infrastructure for economic growth is not limited to building improved terminal buildings alone, but rather investing in the fundamental aviation infrastructure makes more sense towards enhancing aviation safety and security in compliance with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). Successive government should consider aviation as a flagship project because it is an enabler of socioeconomic development,” he said.
Being part of the panel, he mentioned that the role of CAA Director Generals must not be limited to monitoring and enforcing compliance at industry level, but also requires some awareness-raising amongst key stakeholders including political leaders, adding that the fight towards the enhancement of Africa safety and security requires a collective and coordinated approach from all stakeholders.
“Regardless of the posing challenges, Africa is set to become one of the fastest growing Aviation regions in the next 20 years with an annual expansion of nearly 5% as referenced in IATA’s report,” he said.
The IATA Regional Aviation Forum was organized to discuss pertinent regional issues ranging from securing the Prosperity of Aviation Businesses in West and Central Africa; supporting Regional Tourism Growth, Aviation supporting Agro-Industry, removing impediments to slow collaboration among African Airlines to growing Political Will to drive the Aviation Agenda.