AFRAA Joins Focus Africa Initiative to Enhance Economic Contribution

Chinedu Eze
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines
Association (AFRAA) have announced that AFRAA is joining the Focus Africa

IATA explained that Focus Africa would maximize the contribution of aviation to
development across the African Continent by better serving passengers and
shippers. Under Focus Africa, private and public stakeholders are committed to
delivering measurable improvements in six critical areas – safety, infrastructure,
connectivity, finance and distribution, sustainability, and skills development. 
“AFRAA strengthens the Focus Africa coalition as we work to increase aviation’s
role in Africa’s development. This has enormous promise. The continent is home
to the world’s most rapidly growing population but accounts for just 2% of air
passenger and cargo transport activity. The road to realizing aviation’s potential
will be long. But with the strong partnerships committed to Focus Africa, we can,
and we will realize the needed change,” said IATA’s Regional Vice President for
Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Al Awadhi.

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“AFRAA and IATA share a common vision – the development of a safe, secure
and sustainable aviation industry in Africa that facilitates business, trade, and
tourism and contributes positively to Africa’s economic growth and development.
AFRAA fully supports and encourages collaboration in tackling the challenges and
threats to the sustainability of Africa’s air transport sector. By joining IATA and
the other Focus Africa partners we can help propel this initiative which will deliver
widespread social and economic benefits,” said, AFRAA Secretary General,
Abderahmane Berthé.

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IATA and AFRAA are also enhancing their collaboration by renewing a joint work
program which includes: Promoting regional air connectivity by working together
with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air
Transport Market (SAATM). This work aims to (1) see the 23 countries committed
to SAATM ratify the accord and (2) encourage more countries to join the

Focus Africa aims to liberate airline funds blocked by governments from
repatriation by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs. Since
2018, a significant amount of blocked funds has been repatriated from Angola,
Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe through working with the respective
governments. Currently $1.5 billion in airline funds remain blocked across the

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