The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Union (AU) Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand strategic co-operation and foster economic and social development on the continent.

The MoU, which is aimed at helping Africa develop safe, efficient and sustainable air transport, will focus on exchange of information, expertise and capabilities in a number of areas, including enhancing security through intelligence-driven, risk-based measures, enhancing safety, reducing accident rates in line with global levels of performance and promoting connectivity, according to new portal

Those include facilitating collaborative decision-making in air traffic management, improving the passenger experience through the deployment of IATA's Fast Travel Programme and a suite of projects designed to give passengers more control over their journey through a range of self-service options.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, IATA Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Tony Tyler, said Africa had been set to become one of the fastest-growing aviation regions with five per cent annual growth forecast over the next 20 years.

Achieving that goal would not happen by coincidence, but "strong partnerships are the keys", he noted. "This MoU will help ensure that global standards and best practices from the backbone of Africa's growth as well as position the continent's 54 nations to promote economic and social development by unleashing the full power of aviation", Tyler stated.

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Elham Ibrahim said IATA was a strategic partner in the growth of African aviation and the partnership would commit the two organizations to even closer cooperation on the priorities for African aviation.

"In particular, we count on IATA to partner with us by providing the requisite technical support in the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market as part of our long-term vision in the context of the AU Agenda 2063", he added.

IATA represents some 260 airlines accounting for 83 per cent of global air traffic. The industry already supports 6.8 million jobs and generates 72.5 billion US dollars of economic activity in Africa.


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