Editor’s Note: March 04, 2019
How is the ‘Single African Sky’ doing?
Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame has called on more African statesto abandon ‘short-sighted’ protectionism and sign up to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative.
Dubbed the ‘Single African Sky’, this was launched amid much fanfare in January 2018, and is aimed at liberalizing and harmonizing Africa’s notoriously fragmented airspace.
His words reflect growing frustration among the initiative’s advocates. While 27 countries have signed up, only around 14 have moved on to implementation. Major markets like Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria haven’t done so.
Their reluctance isn’t arbitrary.
While SAATM is big on aspiration, it’s vague on execution.
This includes a lack of mechanisms to ensure a fair playing field. Analysis by Deloitte has warned that this, coupled with an insistence on instantaneous pan-African liberalization, will lead to SAATM actually doing more harm than good.
It’s also surprisingly difficult to find any information on the initiative, which doesn’t have a dedicated website. Such things won’t make or break the project, but it does little to inspire confidence in the process.
Few will argue with the aim of liberalizing Africa’s airspace, but the continent is littered with ambitious projects that haven’t gone beyond rhetoric and PR.
Given the failure of SAATM’s predecessor, the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, scepticism is advised.
From The Continent
Ethiopia and Kenya have announced plans to establish a free trade zone to boost economic ties between the two countries. Annual trade between the leading East African economies is estimated at just $8m. More: Anadolu Agency
The leader of Sudan’s main opposition party has called on embattled president Omar al-Bashir to step down and commence transition talks, days after the longtime ruler relinquished leadership of the country’s ruling party. Bashir’s grip on power is waning amid unprecedented protests calling for his exit. More: Reuters
The Daily Stat
The size of a 25-year infrastructure bond Kenya’s central bank has said it plans to auction on March 20. More: Reuters
The Global Perspective
Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes is considering expansion into Southeast Asia in 2019 as part of an emerging markets push. The company is looking at one or two markets according to CEO Karim Awad. More: Gulfnews
Nigeria-based e-commerce startup Jumia has partnered with China’s Xiaomi to sell the latter’s mobile handsets across its 14 African markets. Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest handset manufacturers, announced plans to expand in Africa in January. More: Jumia