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African Leaders Challenged To Lower Costs Of Air Transport

3 Min Read

Lower costs of air transport could significantly trigger rapid development across Africa says Dr. Peter Mathuki  the EAC Secretary General.

Dr. Mathuki stated that air cargo currently accounts for only 2% of the global air cargo adding that air transport remains out of reach for both passenger and cargo haulage due to high associated costs.

He made these remarks in Nairobi, Kenya while addressing the  7th Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) week which commenced on 28th February will conclude on 4th March.

“These costs can be brought down if we have political commitment to implement the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) agreement,” Dr. Mathuki noted.

The Secretary General noted that the region continues to ramp up investments in infrastructure to narrow the infrastructure gap and enhance intermodal connectivity.

“These investments have yielded impressive results; for instance, the transit time from Mombasa to Kampala has improved from 20 days in 2010 to an average of 6 days in 2021, with a resultant cost reduction from US$3,500 in 2010 to US$2,200 in 2021,” he said.

The Secretary General hailed African leaders for prioritizing investment in One-Stop Border Posts (OSBPs), which have facilitated trans-boundary trade by enhancing border crossing efficiency.

“The use of technology at OSBPs has improved sharing and exchange of information among agencies, enhanced border security, reduced processing times at the border transit times for traders and transporters, and enhanced the reliability of the supply chain through streamlined and harmonised procedures,” he said.

The Secretary General further added that use of technology has enhanced regional competitiveness and led to implementation of initiatives such as the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTs), Single Customs Territory (SCT), and upgrading Customs Management Systems.

Raila Odinga, AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development called for the delegates from across the continent to identify new and innovative funding mechanisms amidst limited public resources to fast track the continent’s connectivity.

“Africa needs to create an enabling environment with bankable projects to get funding for infrastructure projects,” he said.