Harare - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today met with Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa and a high level government delegation, to discuss the contribution of aviation to the country’s economy and development.
A key topic addressed was the need to find a mutually acceptable and workable solution for the release of
USD196 million in revenues owed to airlines and ensuring current levels of air transport services to and from the Southern African country, which are vital to its economy and social development.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General & CEO said that today’s meeting had been very fruitful and encouraging. Further joint meetings between IATA and Zimbabwe’s government have been scheduled to immediately finalize the definition of a framework for the return of airlines’ revenues and to implement it while also preventing the accumulation of further debt.
“Aviation is a key contributor to the prosperity of this country. But funds from the sale of air tickets in Zimbabwe cannot currently be repatriated to airlines. It will be negative for business, trade and tourism if airlines are forced to reduce their service to Zimbabwe. But it was clear from our fruitful meeting that we are united in our commitment to finding an appropriate solution that will address this and support Zimbabwe’s economic development,” said de Juniac.
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Notes for editors
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
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- Aviation and tourism combined are about the third largest contributor to Zimbabwe’s economy. The total contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s GDP in 2017 was almost US$1.2 billion at 7.1% of total GDP, which was forecast to increase by 2019 to almost 10% of total GDP, if the aviation and tourism services in the country were sustained. In 2017, aviation and tourism supported about 70,000 jobs in the country, translating to approximately 4.5% of total employment (both direct and indirect), although this figure fell in slightly in 2018.
- Unfortunately, uncertainties linked to the recent monetary policy reforms, which were implemented to foster economic stability, have had the unintended consequence of reducing the volume and value of air transport sales in Zimbabwe, which has negatively impacted its GDP and competitiveness.
- IATA’s Economic forecast indicates a reduction in total GDP for Zimbabwe from 4.8% in 2018 to -5% in 2019. This will no doubt lead to a significant reduction in aviation’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s economic development. Similarly, passenger traffic numbers have reduced from 2018 to 2019.