The Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM, is an initiative by the African Union, AU aimed at creating a single air transport market in Africa.
So far, only 34 countries in Africa have signed up to SAATM.
What are the benefits of SAATM and why are those yet to sign up afraid to do so.
The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is a priority project of the African Union Agenda 2063.
The SAATM was created to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision
The aim is to have one market for air transport in the African continent that will propel the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and serves as a boost to the continent’s economic integration agenda.
SAATM gives an opportunity for the African airlines to dominate African sky, connect Africa socially, economically and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism.
Mr. Esayas hailu, Director in an airline in Ethiopian said, 80% of the African traffic was being carried by non-african airlines while only 20% is left for African airlines.
He emphasized that with SAATM, African airlines would dominate all African traffic with all Africans, adding that, they would work with each other not against each other to connect cultures, peoples and goods in Africa.
“We would be able to connect in a cheap way all people in Africa to buy and sell from each other. Africa is only transacting only 10% of the charter and 90% with overseas, we want to change so that employment, capital will stay within the African soil so, SAATM is our making, we will work zealously towards its realization and that would be the best thing for all African citizens, African government and African airlines to be able to revive and work very well”.
Mr. Hailu stated that, the African Union Commission was bent on SAATM and the Commission for Trade and Investment were working zealously to see its realization.
“The Commission for Trade and Investment are working zealously to see its realization and they are going to push for that. so, those who have been into it, they are going to parade this noble cause so that the rest of the African countries will follow suit. We are very hopeful that this is going to work for the benefit for 1billion plus Africans on the continent”.
However, good as the benefits of SAATM maybe, many African countries were to sign up to the SAATM.
An African tourism and travel expert, Mr. Ikechi Uko says, the reasons for this is that, many African countries do not have capacity to compete with others who have the wherewithall in terms of aircraft and the investment.
He stressed that, the fear of their market being taken over by outsiders had limited the full acceptance of SAATM by some African countries.
“What we are doing to ourselves today in saying don’t let the other one you find out that we have not helped ourselves, let us keep opening up Africa , SAATM, visa on arrival for all Africans, AfCFTA these are wealth creating ideas that will open up Africa and prevent Africans from having to look to Europe for help”.
He however stated that, if Nigeria was to benefit fully from the single African market, it must develop its infrastructure, encourage airlines and air cargo with the right policies amongst others.