By Sumaila Ogbaje
Dr Bernard Aliu, President, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), has called on member states, stakeholders and development partners to invest more in the development of airports and air navigation infrastructure.
Aliu made the call in his welcome statement to participants and governments officials at the forthcoming ICAO World Aviation Forum, (IWAF) holding in Abuja in Monday and Tuesday.
He said the forum would attract officials from aviation industry, government, financial institutions, development partners and those that could provide funds into aviation infrastructure development and air transport capacity in a sustainable way.
ICAO president said that growth in aviation would double over the next 15 years, adding that many of the states would have to make significant investment in airport and air navigation infrastructure.
“We expect the we see significant socio-economic development of those states and even greater contribution to the economic growth globally and in this particular case, Africa and add to the GDP of Africa.
“This year, the focus would be on financing the aviation infrastructure development.
“We will be seeing the participation of many investment banks starting with the World Bank, African Development Bank, ECOWAS Bank and many other development banks will participate.
” We would also be seeing the participation of many UN agencies that are involved in this sectors that are important to the development of air transport.
“All these would lead to the development of our airports for air navigation service which must be consistent with our air navigation plan.
“As you are all aware, the industry is growing and we have put in place the plan to set the objectives and the priorities for the development,” he said.
Aliu said that the “No Country Left Behind” initiative of ICAO was meant to put together all its priorities and objectives to push for effective implementation of ICAO standards and policies.
He said it was the believe of the organisation that all its members were suppose to implement the initiative harmoniously and effectively everywhere to ensure the same level of safety, security, efficiency and reliability of air transport system.
The Secretary-General of ICAO, Dr Fang Liu, also said IWAF would bring value to wide range of ministries involve in air transport and express the connection company.
Liu said the forum was expected to bring about improved awareness and how aviation could increase capability to connect cities to the world and contribute to local economic prosperity.
“Secondly, is to stress that aviation should be included in the national development strategy.
“We also of course wish to see higher level of investment with the much needed lager scale air transport project now needed in member states.
“The IWAF also offers an excellent opportunity for meetings and other networking with various partners and stakeholders,” she said.