The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and act as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda. SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic and political integration and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result. The SAATM was created to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.

Aiming for a harmonized Regulatory Framework

IATA fully supports this initiative, which will open up Africa’s skies and promote the value of aviation throughout the continent. Open air arrangements boost traffic, drive economies and create jobs. An IATA survey (pdf) suggests that if just 12 key Africa countries opened their markets and increased connectivity, an extra 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries.

To date, 34 countries have signed up to the SAATM:Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Bissau), Guinée, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tchad, Togo, Zimbabwe.

These countries represent over 80% of the existing aviation market in Africa.

Effective implementation is key

Advocacy and continuous communication to all stakeholders on the Single Africa Air Transport Market is a key element towards the operationalization of the SAATM. This is the first pillar of the SAATM Prioritized Action Plan.

To facilitate this, IATA worked with the African Union Commission, the African Civil Aviation Commission and the African Airlines Association, to create a SAATM Handbook (pdf), launched at the 30th Ordinary Plenary Session of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) on the 5th of December in Livingstone, Zambia. This handbook serves as a guidance booklet on SAATM implementation. The aim is to help all stakeholders work together to take the best advantage of SAATM to boost African development.