SAATM Ambassador Solicits Political Will For Implementation
The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) Ambassador for West Africa, Capt. Edward Boyo has called on the Ministers in charge of air transport in Africa and the entire leadership across the continent to demonstrate the political will to actualize implementation of the SAATM agreement.
Speaking at the 24th Anniversary celebration of the Yamoussoukro Decision at the YD Week, held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja from November 13 to 16, 2023 under the theme, ‘Africa Wants To Fly,’ Boyo said for many years, the executives and technocrats have worked hard to pursue SAATM implementation “but the industry has not mustered the political will for the decision to come alive.” He said the SAATM was not a revolution but a tool to make YD come alive.
“What are we afraid of? What can go wrong if we open the skies?,” he asked the seven ministers present.
Boyo described YD as a “vision that was handed back to us to actualize” by “leaders who saw it but today, most of them are resting in their graves and it is still not happening. We have a collective failure to a document that was signed by 44 African countries.”
“What SAATM did was to make roads that will join our communities. These roads could be in the air. If we have SAATM, the protocol of free movement of people will work. If we have free movement, the African passport initiative will come alive,” explained Boyo. He further said to the Ministers: “I will not challenge you. I will only inform you that what we are missing is the political will.”
He emphasized that the political class needs to play their role and that “the benefit of SAATM is not for the airlines. The benefit is for the people. Airlines are not afraid of competition. It is the States that are not playing their part.”
“To implement SAATM, government does not need to build new airports or new airlines, and even when they decide to do so, security is still under government control,” he said at the panel discussion session, urging Nigeria with its huge population to seize the initiative opportunity and to open up just like Togo and some other countries have already done.
“Until SAATM is implemented in Africa, we are not independent,” he said.AM
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