15 African Countries agree to ease travel restrictions

15 African countries have agreed to further unify the continent by easing travel restrictions. Dubbed the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), this initiative has won 15 signatures from 15 African countries that have all agreed to merge to some degree their aviation markets.

The initiative was launched in January 2018 but enjoyed little to no success. However, a recent report reveals that the SAATM Pilot Implementation Project, which affiliates some of Africa’s most pronounced aviation sectors, was launched on the 14th of November 2022 by the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC).

The goal of this initiative is to first and foremost strengthen the ties between African countries via restricting severe air travel restrictions.

It also has the goal of boosting the air economy of the member states involved. Based on a recent study by the African Union on the potential benefits of SAATM implementation, member states could potentially gain an additional $4.2 billion in GDP, 596,000 new jobs, and a 27% reduction in airfares.

This initial stage of SAATM which was created to improve connectivity and integration of Africa is set to be finalized before the year runs out.

The 15 signed states are set to reach a conclusion and align their respective air service agreements to the SAATM regime, during its next meeting. The meeting will be held in Abuja on the 5th of December 2022, during the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation.

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