Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has called on West African states to address the issue of financing and modernization of aviation infrastructure, attract support from private investors by building a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate, and include aviation in national development plans.
Hadi Sirika made the call at a recent two-day day virtual event on enhancing air connectivity and growth in West Africa was organized by the Federal Ministry of Aviation of Nigeria, in cooperation with the International Partners for Aviation Development, Innovation and Sustainability (iPADIS).
Also participated in the meeting were Central African and Caribbean States, international and regional financial and regulatory organizations, as well as industry stakeholders from air transport, tourism, trade, public health and related sectors.
According to Hadi Sirika, “Nigeria’s determination to host the High-Level Ministerial Meeting is borne out of the desire to find a lasting solution to the challenges of this sector in our sub–region, especially at a time when the industry is unprecedentedly being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in depressed travel demands and disruptions of businesses globally.”
Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, founding president of iPADIS, stressed the need for strengthened levels of collaboration and decisiveness among West African governments and industry stakeholders in addressing the COVID-19 challenge and ensuring a rapid recovery of the air transport and tourism sectors, vital to stimulating economic development in the region.
“I am confident that the 15 West African States have the potential and the resourcefulness to transform their region into a leading aviation market and to take full advantage of air transport as a major contributor to trade, tourism and GDP”, said Dr. Aliu.
“What is required is political determination to turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to enhance the contribution of civil aviation to West Africa’s economic growth, social progress and integration, and overall sustainable development. Your collaboration and leadership will be critical to implement necessary strategies and synergies for a sustainable and resilient air transport system worthy of the great potential of this region”, he emphasized.