Abuja – The International Air Transport Association (Iata) announced the theme for the 2016 Aviation Day Africa, taking place in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 23 and 24, will be "Driving African Economies through the Power of Aviation".
The conference will bring together regional stakeholders to address current issues affecting aviation in Africa, including the proliferation of taxes and charges, public-private partnerships, aviation, safety, security, next generation airports and market connectivity.
Aviation in Africa carries over 70 million passengers a year, supports more than 6.9 million jobs on the continent and generates over $80bn in gross domestic product (GDP). Over the next five years the African economy is forecast to grow at 4.7% per year, well above the global average rate.
For the continent to realize its full economic potential, aviation – particularly commercial air transport - must be prioritised, according to Iata.
Raphael Kuuchi, Iata's vice president for Africa, said governments and organisations need to focus not only on national issues, but also on the strategic development of pan-African aviation.
"Policies that promote investment in air transport infrastructure, improve safety and enhance air connectivity must be implemented. Aviation has the potential to make a much more significant contribution to economic growth and development within the continent if its power is unleashed," he emphasised.