Editor’s Note: May 29, 2018

Don’t hold your breath for the Single African Sky

Twenty-six countries have signed up to the African Union’s (AU) Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative. Also called the Single African Sky, it was launched during the 30th AU summit in January.

The aim is to liberalize the continent’s fragmented airspace. Despite having about 15% of the world’s population Africa accounts for a tiny fraction of commercial travel, and just 1.6% of the global freight market.

It’s a desirable goal, but there is a worrying omission here – the Yamoussoukro Decision.

Adopted in 1999 it too was supposed to liberalize the continent’s airspace. Almost twenty years later it has had virtually no impact, despite having 44 signatories.

The issue is not whether Single African Sky makes sense, but if it will be meaningfully implemented. The grandeur of its ambition and the AU’s patchy track record on execution do not bode well.

A more realistic scenario is that Africa’s airspace will liberalize in clusters, driven by groups of countries.

This doesn’t necessarily mean less impact. The International Air Transport Association estimates that if just 12 key economies opened their markets and improved connectivity this could create 155,000 jobs and boost GDP by $1.3bn annually in each country.

From The Continent

Tunisia’s ruling coalition has failed to agree on a new economic reform plan and cabinet reshuffle ahead of an IMF decision on the next loan tranche of a $2.9bn aid programme.Austerity measures mandated by the agreement have triggered widespread popular discontent. More: Reuters


Kenyan authorities have charged 54 individuals, mostly civil servants, relating to an investigation into the theft of up to $100m at government agencies. The move comes after more than a week of mounting public pressure, and is a rare example of senior officials facing consequences for graft in the country. More: Guardian

The Daily Stat

$670m

The reported value of an opaque “slush fund” in Nigeria which is allegedly seeing increased use in the run-up to elections scheduled for next February. More: CGTN

The Global Perspective

Angolan president João Lourenço is on his first official visit to France this week aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries, including new agreements with oil major Total. Lourenço  has pushed sweeping reforms in the oil-rich country since taking office last September. More: CGTN

The US is urging the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions on senior South Sudanese officials, including ministers, accusing them of obstructing peace talks and blocking humanitarian assistance. Relations between the East African country and Washington have been strained since Donald Trump moved into the White House. More: Reuters

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