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Uganda set to join Single African Air Transport Market news

Uganda set to join Single African Air Transport Market

So far, only fourteen countries out of 29 that belong to the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Community (IOC) have acceded to the Single African Air Transport Market, six years since it was launched.

This has limited the potential economic growth and development of the region and greatly affected air connectivity within Africa as air travel costs remain prohibitive.

To the contrary, many air transport markets outside Africa have been liberalised to a significant extent while most intra-African air transport markets remain largely closed.

This was communicated during a two-day national awareness workshop on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) held in Kampala.

The objective of the workshop was to create awareness of the existence of SAATM and underscore its benefits to the people of Uganda,

In his statement during the workshop, Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala acknowledged the importance of the SAATM and called for the establishment of enabling legal and institutional frameworks at the continental, regional and national levels in order to operationalise the market.

“Apart from proper infrastructure that will ensure safe, effective and efficient air transport systems, he said the region requires appropriate institutions, infrastructure and procedures,” he added.

He cited the experience during the Covid-19 outbreak, when international air cargo operations made it possible to maintain the much-needed supply chain operations and distribution of pharmaceutical products efficiently and within the shortest time possible.
As demonstrated during the COVID 19 pandemic, majority of States relaxed rules to permit smooth operations of air cargo services a move which underlined the importance of a vibrant air transport sector.

The Minister announced that Uganda through the Ministry of Works and Transport, jointly with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the Uganda National Airline are committed and optimistic about adopting the SAATM project and is now ready to present a Cabinet Paper on the benefits of SAATM to the national aviation industry.

In her address to the meeting, Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe appreciated the support of the European Union for its contribution to the development of the air transport sector in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian ocean region.

“Air transport should be seen as a catalyst not only for tourism, but also for trade and industrialization,” she said in the statement read by Chief of Strategic Planning Mr Simal Amor.

The SAATM is implemented under an eight million euros, four-year programme on the Support to Air Transport Sector Development (SATSD) financed by the European Union under 11th European Development Fund. It covers four Regional Economic Communities (RECs): East Africa Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). COMESA is the lead REC.


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