Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), says the African aviation sector accounts for about nine per cent of aircraft accidents yearly and 37 per cent of aviation fatalities globally.
He said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja
Adesina added that though the sector fared better in 2016, it still remained the riskiest skies to fly in.
He said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the bank and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was to seek ways to boost the African aviation sector to better serve the teeming populace.
“First, we are very concerned about the issue of air safety.
“Africa, last year, did very well. It was one of the safest skies last year but it has not always been that way, so we are improving but that does not mean that we must actually rest on our oars on this.
“So one of the things that we will be focusing on in the collaboration with IATA is how to improve investments from the bank and others on air navigation infrastructure, improving safety records and also making sure that we also improve the training facilities for the engineers, the air control traffic managers.
“We are also looking at how to help to de-risk the market for accessing finance for infrastructure, in particular, air craft acquisition.
“So these are the broad terms of the things that we are going to be working on but our focus is to make the aviation industry more competitive; deregulate the sector and make it more efficient.
“Hopefully, also have financing that allows aircraft expansion to be able to cope with the rapidly increasing number of passengers that Africa needs and would have.’’
The MoU was signed on Tuesday in Abuja, on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) World Aviation Forum.
The forum is themed: “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure.”