By Wole Oyebade
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and other Africa transport ministers have rallied other countries on the continent behind the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Sirika, at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee in Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism in Cairo Egypt, made the resolution of the ministers known via his twitter handle.
The ministers, in the resolution concerning transport in Africa, “urge all remaining member states to join the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), ratify the African Road Safety Charter, the Revised Maritime Transport Charter and the Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) Constitution.”Presently, only 28 Africa countries have so far shown interest in the SAATM, even as the African Union awaits the decision of others to join the train.
According to African Union, SAATM is “Promoting intra-regional connectivity between the capital cities of Africa by creating a single unified air transport market in Africa, as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration and growth agenda.”In Cairo, the ministers unanimously agreed to strategies that would boost infrastructures in Africa. “We, the Ministers in charge of Transport Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism meeting in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt on 16 and 17 April 2019, in the Second Session of the Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism , organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to consider strategies for developing smart infrastructure to boost Africa’s continental transformation and integration,” said the ministers in Cairo.
“We, the ministers, reiterating our commitment to develop Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism sectors and our strong will to implement the outcome of the meeting as we have agreed.”
The committee of ministers requested the African Union Commission (AUC), to take the appropriate measures to accelerate the development of the African integrated High Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN) flagship project, revitalisation of the Union of Africa Railways (UAR) and speed up operationalisation of SAATM.
They also called upon the African Development Bank (AfDB) to continue providing support and mobilise more financial resources for priority intercontinental transport sector programmes such as SAATM and implementation of African Plan of Action for Road Safety.
The committee appealed to member states to speed up signing and or ratification of pending legal instrument related to infrastructure, notably Maritime Charter, Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD), SAATM, AFREC Convention and Road Safety Charter.
Member states that have subscribed to the solemn commitment are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Capo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Gabon. Others are, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.