Africa: A Lesson For Nigeria’s Aviation Industry from Ghana Africa Air show
For African and Non African aviators alike, Kotoka International Airport Accra, Ghana, was a beehive of activities recently. That was the venue of the first ever Air show held on the African soil. The event began on the 24th, ran through 25th and ended on a colourful note on the 26th of Oct, 2017, after a dinner organised at the State House, by the organisers.
It was a roll call of who is who in African Aviation business. Thank God, our own Agencies: Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), were fully represented and saw things themselves.
Declaring the event open, the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his opening address thanked the cream of African aviators and their counterparts from around the globe for identifying with his country, on the occasion of First Aerospace and Aviation Exhibition in West Africa.
He, however, emphasized that the primary objective for organising the Air show was to provide an opportunity for the convergence and engagement of major players within the African and Global aviation space with the singular purpose to positioning the African Aviation industry at the forefront of regional and global interest.
“I am confident that the Air show will open up various investment opportunities in the aviation sector, which has the potential to stimulate growth in other sectors of the economy. I also believe this interaction will provide the platform for experienced industry practitioners to make presentation and provoke debate and discussions that will offer sustainable solutions to some of the challenges confronting the aviation industry. It is my expectation that, this Air show will create opportunities for aircraft fleet modernisation, aviation investment opportunities, aircraft financing, and networking, so as to ensure the continuous growth of air transport business across the globe. My government is committed to working with the private sector to offer modern, attractive air transport infrastructure, building the capacity and establishing an institutional policy framework to enhance safety and security.
The President who had a kind words for the exhibitors also averred “To our exhibitors, I must commend you for the confidence reposed in Ghana. I am convinced that this will be a successful Air show. I laud your efforts in promoting and connecting aviation with the rest of the world. Your decision to come here will certainly be the beginning of investment opportunities for you here in Ghana and Africa’’. My government is committed to working with the private sector to offer modern, attractive air transport infrastructure, building the capacity and establishing an institutional policy framework to enhance safety and security of air services in the country’’.
With over 2, 300 attendees, 165 exhibitors and 600 journalist across the globe that covered the Air show, the Minister For Aviation, of the Republic of Ghana, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who could not hide her feelings, at least, for the fact that her name will go down in history as the first African Minister of aviation to have successfully packaged a world class Aerospace and Aviation Exhibition on the African soil, charged everyone present, especially Ministers of Aviation from other African countries to see the Ghana Air show as a wakeup call to promote the development of the aviation industries on the continent.
In her brief and compact welcome message, the Minister informed the audience that Ghana in her bid to keep the flame of aviation business burning on the continent, beyond inviting technocrats and practitioners went ahead to involve about two hundred students from various schools across Ghana. This she said was to broaden the knowledge and spark deep interest of the younger generation to embrace carrier in the aviation sector reputed for its sophistication, occasioned by technological advancement globally, which Africa as a continent is part of.
The challenge of building viable Aviation Hub, Airport Regulatory Framework, Modernization and infrastructure Development, Aviation and the Environment coupled with Human Capital Development for the Aviation industry to thrive were roundly dealt with, during the conference session. These topical issues various speakers agreed are inexhaustible due to the dynamic nature of the aviation industry but however maintained that the industry on the sub region is on the path of growth even though more still needs to be done in the areas of investments and security.
Interestingly, our own general secretary, African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Ms Iyabo Sosina, during her presentation on the topic ‘’Enhancing Socio Economic Development via Improved Air Transport Connectivity and Tourism’’, gave good account of herself. She charged African countries to brace up with the new dawn in the air transport industry to fully realise the full potentials of tourism that has a lot in common with air transport connectivity.
For the Chairman, Nigeria/Ghana Business Council (NGBC), Omoba Bambo Ademiluyi, he urged Nigeria to strengthen her bilateral relationship with Ghana in every sphere necessary. He maintained that Nigeria and Ghana are the biggest economies in the West Africa. He also acknowledged the fact that Nigeria in all ramification has the capability of driving West Africa in the direction that will benefit the continent, saying that with strong ties focused on specific areas like aviation that the economies of both countries stands to benefit immensely in the immediate and on the long run.
‘’We have strong ties that are focused in specific areas like aviation. We have to put our acts together by government supporting investments to grow in the country through political will. You can see the strong government presence here, government supported this solidly and that is the only way you can have this kind of success. If the industries grow, government is the lead beneficiary. The industries expands, more people are employed, pay tax and the government is happy’’.
population and also reputed as the most travelled people in the continent if not in the world. Yes, we may have the market and the population but somebody else is leading in the aviation market. The Air show that took place in Ghana recently is a wakeup call. Apart from three government Agencies from the aviation sector that attended, government presence and the private sector practitioners, mostly from the aviation industry, were conspicuously missing.
Beyond concession, everything that involves the development of aviation industry should be embraced and Ghana Air show, which has come and gone, was one of the areas Nigeria’s aviation community would have learnt few things, since that was the first time Air show was hosted on the African soil.
By COSMAS OKEREAFOR