African Ministers call for increased transport infrastructure for economic development
Luanda, Angola 24 November 2011- The Second Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Transport (CAMTII) was held today, 24 November 2011, in Luanda, Angola. Under the theme: consolidating the transport sector for the stimulation of Economic Integration in Africa”, the Ministers gathered to adopt the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) transport component; and to review implementation of the various sub-sector plans of action, among other issues.
CAMTII was organized by the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and hosted by the Government of Angola. It was attended by Ministers of AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), development partners, UN agencies, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and other organizations.
The meeting considered the experts session report, 21-23 November 2011, which was mainly focused on Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and implementation of plans of action in the transport sub-sectors: such as;
- Air transport- (African Civil Aviation Policy, aviation safety and security and environment protection);
- Maritime transport (African Maritime Transport Charter, port management and development);
- Land transport (development of transport corridors, facilitation of transit transport and improvement of road safety).
“We are all aware of the overall state of transport infrastructure and services inAfrica. In most of our countries, transport has become a constraint rather than a facilitator of economic development. The biggest challenge for the continent to be competitive and combat poverty more effectively is to reduce transport costs to the world average”, said Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, Commissioner of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, during the opening session of CAMTII.
The Commissioner informed participants that AUC, in collaboration with development partners and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is working to ensure implementation of outstanding regional and continental transport programmes, which has already been formulated. She further went on “the African Union Commission and its partners have finalized the elaboration of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)”, which covers four areas: transport, energy, information and communication technology (ICT) and trans-boundary water. (the complete speech of the commissioner is available on www.au.int
PIDA is an ambitious and achievable programme for the interconnection and upgrading of infrastructure networks, capable of contributing to the creation of the African Economic Community announced for 2028 by theAbujatreaty of 1991.
The Minister of Transport in the Government of Angola, Dr. Augusto da Silva Tomas, addressed participants at CAMTII, highlighting economic integration as important milestone for the development of infrastructure inAfrica. This great exponent of modern economic thinking defines “integration” as the “process of elimination of discrimination between different economic units belonging to different national states” – which facilitates and promotes territorial and economic cohesion among them, on the basis of cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid, and concurrently ensures sustainable social progress, he said.
According to Mr. Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, President of Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), “Between 2000 and 2010, the number of air carriers in Africa went from 325 to 431, a 33 percent increase, while the total number of aircraft increased by 49 percent, from 1282 to 1908”. Acknowledging the impressive progression on the continent, he however added “still, air transport inAfricaholds tremendous potential for growth, with enormous benefits in terms of economic and social development”, he underscored.
Mr. Gonzalez highlighted that asAfricamoves towards liberalization, focusing on the improvement of the aviation industry, safety is a must. In this regard, “of the 121 accidents worldwide last year, 17 were inAfrica, 3 of them being fatal accidents”, he recalled.
The Conference of African Ministers of Transport was established as a statutory meeting of the African Union by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2008 with the adoption of its Rules of Procedure.
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H.E. Dr Elham M.M. Ibrahim, is a great unique person serving Africa with a great sincere efforts to develop this contenet.27th November 2011