Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Sky's the limit as Africa makes major move towards aviation single market
Do you know how many people and countries there are in Africa? It is estimated that a little over 1.2 billion people, about 17 percent of the world population, live in 54 recognized states. That population of the continent is increasing at a little over 2.5 percent annually because of the high fertility rate - the number of children who would be born per woman - of nearly 4.7. Just like any other developing regions, urbanization has been in progress in many states in the continent. Over 500 million people live in cities now. Though the market size of each country may not be as large as the ones of other developed continents, it is growing fast now and even faster in the coming years.
Then as the population and economy grow, more people will travel within the continent, especially by air because cities are scattered across the continent and roads and railroads are rarely connected. However, most of the air travels are conducted by airlines outside of Africa. As a result, many intra-continental travelers are connected at an airport in Europe or the Middle East when they travel from an African city to another. In order to accommodate the increasing needs for air travels over the continent, the African Union (AU) has launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) to free their skies for air travel. It is part of the African Union’s initiative to encourage pan-African integration, which also includes relaxation of visa restrictions for African citizens.
Paving a road may take a long time and a lot of work but opening the skies can be done much faster and more easily because it only takes agreements by the governments.
Enjoy reading and learning what the air travel is like in Africa for now and will be in the future.