AU extends invitation to CARICOM to discuss connecting Africa and the Caribbean via air transport

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Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission, Dr. Amani Abou-Zied

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) air transport meeting will examine developing air links between the African continent and its diaspora.

According to DPI, at the opening of the historic meeting being held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, invited the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, to discuss connecting the Caribbean and the African continent.

Dr Abou-Zied noted Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.5B people by 2020 and the African diaspora is estimated at more than 150M with 23M in the Caribbean alone. While the discussion on this connectivity has begun, Dr. Abou-Zied noted follow-up is needed.

“Aviation provides a critical infrastructure link for the promotion of tourism between the Caribbean and the continent and for linking the people of the Caribbean to the motherland,” Dr Abou-Zied said.

According to DPI, Ambassador LaRocque highlighted air connectivity as critical for economic growth and development, especially for small island states. He added there is a vast opportunity for Caribbean states in creating air linkages with Africa.

“Improved or regular and more affordable air connections facilitate greater people to people contact, enable economies to attract more tourists, conduct more trade and attract more foreign investment,” Ambassador LaRocque was quoted by DPI as saying.

Last February, CARICOM Heads of State approved the CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) as the region continues to take measures to liberalize air transport.

The ICAO air transport meeting is being held under the theme “Promoting Connectivity for Sustainable Air Transport Development”. The meeting concludes on November 23.

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