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West, Central African Ministers of Aviation to meet on liberalisation

Ten years after the Yamoussoukro Decision t o reform the air transport sector in West and Central Africa, ministers responsible for civil aviation in both regions will meet Thursday in Y amoussoukro, the political capital of Cote dâ?Ivoire, to evaluate the progress made in air liberalisation in this part of Africa.

The Yamoussoukro Decision seeks to liberalise market access and ensure a fast, r eliable and affordable air transportation system in the regions.

It also guarantees a system of regulations and security control of civil aviatio n, in conformity with the recommended standards of the International Civil aviation Organization (ICAO).

Specifically, the ministers will consider the report on the evaluation of the im plementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision in the 26 Member States of the ECOWAS and CEMAC (Monetary and Economic Community of Central Africa), a sub- regional organisation in Central Africa.

The report was validated at a meeting of civil aviation experts which took place 20-22 October 2009 in Banjul, The Gambia.

The ministers will also consider issues relating to the strengthening of aviatio n security and safety as well as the facilitation of operations and cooperation among airlines.

Their meeting is being preceded by that of experts, known also as the 6th Meetin g of the Coordination and monitoring Committee, which opened Tuesday (27 October 2009) in Yamoussoukro.

The Coordination and Monitoring Committee was established following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 14 November 2009, also in Yamoussoukro.

In his address at the opening of the experts meeting, the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Infrastructure, Mr. Celestin Talaki, recalled the signing of the Yamoussoukro Decision and the MOU in 1999 to accelerate the implementation of th e Decision.

While noting that the signing of the two documents was a testimony to the politi cal will of the leadership of the two regions, the Commissioner – who was repres e nted by the ECOWAS Principal Programme Officer in charge of Transport, Mr. Jules Kagn ini Gogoua – lamented the many challenges to air transport liberalisation, despite the noble ideals of the Yamoussoukro Decision.

Mr. Talaki noted that Africa, which has only two per cent shares of the global t ravel market, had the highest incidents and accident rate in the world.

He however informed the meeting that the ECOWAS and CEMAC Commissions and the Ba njul accord group were intensifying their efforts at implementing COSCAP projects, whose end goal is the establishment of regional safety oversigh t organizations for the supervision of air transport security.

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