Yaw Kwakwa, Executive Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), acknowledges that some AU member states appear to be delaying full opening to saaTM, even after having signed it, but “Ghana is fully involved in its achievement and success”. Admittedly, previous efforts in favour of open skies have not been in vain, as the VSV has taken over much of its predecessor, the Yamoussoukro decision, in particular its regulatory framework. It is true that the initial group of 55 AU member states that were part of SAATM has grown from 23 to 28, including major hitters such as Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya. Indeed, African ministers responsible for civil aviation recognized this in 1999 when they adopted the Yamoussoukro decision, which bears the name of the Ivorian city in which it was agreed. It obliges its 44 signatory states to deregulate air services and promote regional air transport markets open to transnational competition. It followed the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988, in which many of the same countries agreed on the principles of air services liberalization. In 2000, the decision was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the Organization for African Unity and became fully binding in 2002. The African Union (AU) has launched the African Aviation Market (VSZM) to reap the benefits of air transport. Let us hope that a single air transport market, launched yesterday at the AU summit, will help promote cross-border trade and investment and create 300,000 direct jobs and an additional 2 million indirect jobs. To date, 23 African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, are subscribers to 55 SAATAM. The launch of the program was welcomed by the IATA, although it warned that the union must now ensure that it will be implemented. Previous attempts to liberalize African air transport have proven difficult to implement.
For example, the Yamoussoukro decision, which aims to allow countries to easily exchange the rights of the fifth freedom, was codified in 1999, but has not decorated its full potential and is only now being adopted. . . .