Ten African countries reject SAATM

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Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and seven other countries have failed to sign the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) deal which took place last week at Nairobi.

The deal which was signed last week had only three countries, The Gambia, Botswana and Burkina Faso turning up in spite of the earlier indications that thirteen African countries would sign in.

The signatories of the implementation protocol in Lome, Togo were Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Gabon, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho,Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe would have pushed to27 the countries would have started implementing the open skies policy.

In this regard, the Kenyan President, Uhuru Knyatta expressed optimism stating that “Kenya is also committed towards the full realisation of the African Union’s initiative that will see Africa converging into one air service market.

“To this end, Kenya is one of the 25 states that have so far signed up for the SAATM”

This he said while opening the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Air Services Negotiations conference in Nairobi.

But in spite of the president’s optimism, Kenya did not come head ways to sign up to its implementation, having signed the solemn commitment earlier this year.

Kenya is yet to align its national laws with the treaty and as such it could not sign on to its implementation.

According to what the East African were told, “The ratification has to go through parliament and we are made aware that some countries are yet to do that. That could explain their no-show at the signing ceremony.”

The African Civil Aviation Commission’s secretary general, Tefera Mekonnen told The East African that despite the low turn up at the signing ceremony, he remained optimistic that the countries that are left would come around and commit to the agreement.

He said “We know that the delay in their commitment is a result of consultations and also aligning their laws to accommodate this new dawn. I am confident that these countries will commit to the decision in the coming days. So far we are positive on the progress of the signing of the memorandum of implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.”

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