Unlocking the economic and social benefits of aviation is a critical element of Africas development and the continent will not reach its potential without continuous improvement in aviation safety, having an effective regulatory framework and the right infrastructure.

These are some of the reasons why the International Air Transport Association (Iata) and the African Airline Association (AFRAA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the 74th Iata annual general meeting (AGM) in Sydney, Australia on Sunday.

They want to increase cooperation, including on the exchange of information and expertise.

According to Iata, the aviation industry in Africa already supports 6.8 million jobs and generates $72.5bn (R920bn) in economic activity on the continent

To increase airline safety on the continent, AFRAA undertakes to assist airlines to successfully implement certain Iata audits, including the Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Another aim is to promote regional air connectivity by working jointly with African governments on efforts to implement the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM).

The organisations also undertook to encourage data exchanges among aviation stakeholders to improve passengers experience.

Other goals of the MOU include enhancing security through capacity building; freeing up airline funds blocked by governments; and achieving reasonable tax levels and charges by helping governments to focus on the social and economic benefits of aviation.

According to AFRAAs secretary general Abderahmane Berthe, the organisation shares Iatas vision of developing a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry in Africa so that the industry can facilitate business, trade and tourism and contribute to economic growth and development on the continent.

He said AFRAA particularly counts on Iata to provide technical support in areas such as improving aviation infrastructure and building capacity with national regulators.

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