4 MARCH 2019
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The Aviation Africa Summit and exhibition last week was opened by Rwandan president Paul Kagame with a strong message of support for the aviation industry along with a reaffirmed determination to see Africa progress with its “Open Skies” actions.
Kagame was chairperson of the African Union (AU) in 2018 when the agreement for the introduction of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was signed by African nations.
He said: “Sixteen countries in Africa are landlocked, including Rwanda – that is almost one-third of Africa – but every country is air-linked. So, geography should not be seen as an excuse for under-development.”
The president said one industry analysis had calculated more than 1,000 new aircraft would be required in Africa over the coming generation with a value exceeding $150bn.
“That means there will be many more high-quality jobs for African pilots, engineers, and service personnel, to operate and maintain this equipment professionally, and above all, safely.”
IATA chairman and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker also spoke at the opening session. “Africa is a promising land for aviation,” he said. “The list of distinguished guests here today is clear confirmation of Africa’s commitment to reach new heights in the coming years.”
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