Vice President Alupo Calls For Liberalization Of Africa’s Airspace For Improved Connectivity And Increased Trade

  • Air transport is the “business of freedom.”
  • 596 delegates from all over the world are attending the 55th AFRAA AGA in Uganda the Pearl Of Africa
  • Uganda Airlines, is expanding its network and now flies to 13 destinations.
  • The Kayoola EVS (fully electric buses) and the Kayoola Diesel Coaches made in Uganda have been deployed to move the over 500 delegates attending this global event in Kampala.

Uganda’s Vice President, Jesca Alupo has called for the urgent liberalization of Africa’s aviation industry saying that air transport is the “business of freedom.”

“ It is indeed the business of freedom, because air transport shrinks both time and distance, facilitates the movement of goods, people and investment. Through easing travel, air transport also promotes economic and social integration, by facilitating those connections that bring us closer as human beings-African.” VP Alupo who represented President Yoweri Museveni ,was speaking at the official opening of the two day  55th  African Airlines Association (AFRAA) AGA at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Hotel  in Uganda ‘s capital Kampala

Uganda Airlines CEO and President AFRAA, Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki welcoming Uganda’s VP Jesca Alupo at the ongoing 55th AFRAA AGA in Kampala

The grand event opened  with pomp under the “Strides to Transform Aviation for Development .

The AFRAA AGA is the biggest aviation summit in Africa. Uganda Airlines  is proudly hosting the event under the  Ministry of Works and Transport led by Gen Edward Katumba Wamala and the national airlines CEO Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki is the current President AFRAA.

Alupo emphaised that air travel is a critical enabler, which Africa cannot do without because her rail and road infrastructure lack due coverage for interstate movement.  As Africa pursues the goal of continental integration, Alupo noted, it will be important to focus on growing air transport for ease of intra-Africa connectivity.

“But all this cannot happen without building trust. And trust is a product of a spirit of equity, give and take and a commitment to common rules and values,” she said .

The  Vice President explained that Uganda Airlines was revived to improve air transport connectivity to and from Uganda to enhance the country’s competitiveness for  faster economic transformation. Air connectivity has become central to our development agenda, and the national carrier is seen as an extension of national infrastructure.

“We are committed to investing in the flag carrier and to facilitate her expansion within Africa, while also providing those vita air bridges between the continent and the rest of the world. For that reason, we are proactive in driving Africa’s integration agenda and committed to removing any obstacles that might obstruct this goal in way,”she added.

Gen Edward Katumba Wamala Uganda’s Minister of works for Transport said that national carrier, Uganda Airlines, is expanding its network and now flies to 13 destinations.

All this activity , Katumba Wamala said points to a dynamic market and  Uganda is committed to playing oa major  role in the development and growth of African aviation.

The Minister assured the delegates that Uganda welcomes the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to join the initiative.

General Katumba Wamala (C) interacting with VP Jesca Alupo and the AFRAA Secretary General ,Abderahmane Berthe

“Uganda has always pursued a pragmatic aviation policy that seeks to balance the needs of the travelling public while maintaining sanity and safety in the industry. I can state, without any fear of contradiction, that Even under the Yamoussoukro Decision regime, Uganda has been one of the most open aviation markets on the continent. So, in principle, we have always supported the idea of a liberal African air transport market,” he stated.

Gen.Katumba however hastened to add that SAATM is not an event but a process. “Uganda has commenced the process to align its legal regime with SAATM principles and  in due course an announcement shall be made on the  commencement date, the Minister said.

AFRAA also recoginised Ugana’s Barry Kashambo, for outstanding service to the aviation industry in Africa

Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki , the CEO of Uganda Airlines and the current President of AFRAA welcomed the over 500 delegates to the “happiest and most welcoming nation in the world, the Pearl of Africa.”

During her one year as President of AFRAA ,Bamuturaki said blocked funds remained a major  concern in some markets on the continent  and couped with heavy taxation on industry it  makes intra-African travel expensive.

Uganda Government Citizen Interaction Center , led by amiable Mercella Kerekye (3rd left ) was also recognised for its role to have AFRAA in Uganda a big success

Bamuturaki reported that although there has been global air traffic at 28.1 percent above the same period in 2022, there has been no significant improvement to Africa’s share of the global passenger market which stagnated at 2.1%

She attributed this poor showing to a couple of factors that include a soft African economy, visa restrictions and closed markets within the continent.

The fastest way to improve this metric, Bamuturaki argued was to speed up market liberalisation to increase intra-African travel and justify the investment that operators need to make in additional capacity, infrastructure upgrades and regulatory revisions.

Uganda’s Automotive Industry flagship Kiira Motor’s premium products the Kayoola EVS (fully electric buses) and the Kayoola Diesel Coaches have been deployed to move the over 500 delegates attending this global event in Kampala.

55th AFRAA in pictures


Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

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