GEORGETOWN. Guyana, November 24, 2018 (CMC) – Guyana, seeking to develop further cooperation with countries in Africa, has signed an air services agreement with Ghana, paving the way for direct flights between the two countries.
The open skies agreement was inked by Guyana’s Junior Aviation Minister, Annette Ferguson, and Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Kofi Adda, on the side-lines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Air Transport Meeting that ended here, yesterday.
Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Retired Lt. Col. Egbert Field, speaking at a panel discussion on “Promoting Air Links between African States and the Diaspora”, said that if the Ghana-Guyana air-bridge is developed into a viable route, much of the revenues being spent on hospitality services in North America and Europe, through which most flights transit, would be spent in South America and Africa.
“Money is being made in that part of the world and stifling what should be ours, to share with our brothers (in Africa), establishing a shorter link. So let’s go forth, open up this link, deprive them of any extra money, millions and billions of dollars, that they are using and they are taking from us; and let us just share it across this five-hour or five-and-a-half hour stretch of water,” he said.
Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Simon Allotey, spoke of the need for practical initiatives, to generate sufficient demand for flights between Africa and the Diaspora, especially the Caribbean.
“We have to start giving charter operations, low-cost carriers…to drive demand, we need to introduce low-cost carriers, introduce charters and make it available for our citizens to move across our two continents,” Allotey said.
Meanwhile, Guyana says it is looking towards the African continent in its quest for further socio-economic development.
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who held talks with a Nigerian delegation, led by the Minister of State Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Georgetown is open for business and it especially welcomes investments from the African continent.
“We are looking for the support from Africa and, of course, we are the gateway to South America, where you have large populations of Africans. In Brazil, with a population of over 300 million people, that’s a large market as well. So, we are looking for all types of investments, not only in the airline sector, but to take the opportunity of our vast territory. We have virgin forestry land, fresh air and clean water,” Nagamootoo said.
Sirika said that “Nigeria is more than willing to do business in Guyana. Among areas for possible investments are oil and gas, agriculture and the air transportation sectors”.
“We do note the diverse opportunities that are here, in this region. Having found oil recently, Guyana is now placed on the world map. There is also the mining of gold and other solid minerals and agriculture… This is the focus of the government of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, on whose behalf that I’m attending this conference,” he added.
Sirika said that one of the key areas discussed at the ICAO conference was measures to link Africa with the Caribbean region.
“It took me four days travelling to get here from Nigeria… This shouldn’t be the case. When we cross the Atlantic it is not more than an eight-hour flight. The strength of air connectivity/transportation is to bring together cultures, businesses and resources.”