GEORGETOWN, Guyana, November 23, 2018 (CMC) – The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) air transport meeting, here, will examine developing air links between the African continent and its Diaspora.
At the opening of the historic meeting, on Wednesday, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, invited the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, to discuss connecting the Caribbean and the African continent.
Dr Abou-Zied noted Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.5 billion people by 2020, and the African Diaspora is estimated at more than 150 million, with 23 million in the Caribbean alone.
While the discussion on this connectivity has begun, Dr. Abou-Zied noted follow-up is needed.
“Aviation provides a critical infrastructure link for the promotion of tourism between the Caribbean and the continent and for linking the people of the Caribbean to the motherland,” Dr Abou-Zied said.
“Improved or regular and more affordable air connections facilitate greater people to people contact, enable economies to attract more tourists, conduct more trade and attract more foreign investment,” Ambassador LaRocque noted.
Last February, CARICOM Heads of State approved the CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) as the region continues to take measures to liberalize air transport.
“In essence, it provides the required regulatory framework, within which a CARICOM air carrier can provide air transport services between member states, which are parties to the agreement,” LaRocque explained.
Guyana was among the first signatory to MASA.
Guyana Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, noted the need to remove traditional restrictions to improve connectivity and access to international destinations.
“Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean look forward, with renewed confidence, at the expansion of links with non-traditional markets, such as with the African Union. Africa and the Caribbean are joined by the Atlantic crossing; and by history, and culture. It is long overdue that we should have air transport connectivity,” the Prime Minister continued.
The ICAO air transport meeting is being held under the theme “Promoting Connectivity for Sustainable Air Transport Development”, and concluded today.