Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), says the African aviation sector accounts for about nine percent of aircraft accidents yearly and 37 percent of aviation fatalities globally.
The president revealed that while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, adding that, though the sector, ranked globally fared in 2016, it still has the riskiest skies to fly in.
According to Adesina, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed Tuesday in the country’s capital, by the bank and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was to seek ways to boost the African aviation sector to better serve the teeming populace.
The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) World Aviation Forum, themed: “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure.”
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In his words, “first, we are very concerned about the issue of air safety.
“Africa, last year, did very well. It was one of the safest skies last year but it has not always been that way, so we are improving but that does not mean that we must actually rest on our oars on this.
“So one of the things that we will be focusing on in the collaboration with IATA is how to improve investments from the bank and others on air navigation infrastructure, improving safety records and also making sure that we also improve the training facilities for the engineers, the air control traffic managers.”
He further revealed that “we are also looking at how to help to de-risk the market for accessing finance for infrastructure, in particular, aircraft acquisition.
“So these are the broad terms of the things that we are going to be working on but our focus is to make the aviation industry more competitive; deregulate the sector and make it more efficient.
“Hopefully, also have financing that allows aircraft expansion to be able to cope with the rapidly increasing number of passengers that Africa needs and would have.’’