The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are to collaborate to boost aviation in Africa.

The agreement was contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at establishing a framework that will eventually grow aviation on the continent.

The MoU was signed recently on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation World Aviation Forum, which has as its theme: “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure”, in Abuja, Nigeria.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, and African Development Bank President, Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina, endorsed the document on behalf of their respective organisations.

Under the MoU, IATA and the AfDB would work in partnership to further Africa’s economic and social development by helping to build a safe, secure and efficient aviation industry. Specifically, the two organisations would seek to create and implement programmes and projects, including technical cooperation for capacity building with priority given to improved connectivity, safety and aviation infrastructure.

“Aviation in Africa currently supports $72.5 billion in economic activity and 6.8 million jobs. Over the next 20-years, aviation is forecast to grow at nearly 6% per year. This creates significant opportunities. But achieving this potential will not happen by chance; strong partnerships are key. The MoU with ADB will help facilitate the growth and development of Africa’s aviation industry. In so doing, it will expand prosperity and change peoples’ lives for the better in the continent’s 54 nations,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

According to him, the aviation sector is especially important as it opens up doors to investors,” said Adesina. “Very few invest where it’s difficult to travel to. That’s why ease of access via air travel is strongly correlated to economic growth. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience.

“From Abuja, a new voice has arisen through this partnership: Africa’s aviation time has come! Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies,” he further stated.