WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Works and Transport is in the process of drafting a proposal for Namibia to accede to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of January 2018. Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Willem Goeiemann, confirmed to New Era that now that both internal and external consultations regarding Namibia’s anticipated adherence are done, a proposal to Cabinet is being drafted in anticipation of the African Union Summit in February next year.
The PS had previously shared with New Era that as the custodian of the local aviation industry, the works and transport ministry needed to consult all affected government agencies and private sector concerns before making a recommendation to Cabinet on whether or not Namibia should join SAATM.
Goeiemann said becoming a member of the SAATM could hold numerous benefits for the country’s tourism industry and its economy at large. More specifically, he added that SAATM, as an ambitious initiative to connect African countries and streamline continental aviation transportation and trade, holds the potential to significantly increase Namibia’s intra-Africa trade that has been stagnant at between 10 and 12 percent for a number of years.
Meanwhile, speaking at the African Airlines Association’s (AFRAA’s) Annual General Assembly, currently underway in Rabat, Morocco, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac, said if implemented SAATM gives Africa the potential for economic transformation.
“Twenty-seven states have signed on to SAATM. Now they need to follow promises with action. History has shown that opening markets leads to rapid advances in connectivity. We can be confident that the results of 27 states implementing SAATM will make a powerful case for the remaining 28 to come on board quickly,” said De Juniac yesterday.
He noted that t assist, IATA worked with the African Union, the African Civil Aviation Commission AFCAC) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) to create a guidance booklet on SAATM implementation.
“Regulation affects almost every aspect of aviation, so a favourable regulatory environment is critical to the sustainability of the industry, particularly here in Africa,” De Juniac concluded.