Ethiopian Airlines promotes regional integration, says Songwe

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) executive secretary Vera Songwe has praised Ethiopian Airlines for championing regional integration through its flights to over 50 destinations on the continent.

She said this after a tour of the Ethiopian Aviation facilities and holding talks with Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer Tewolde GebreMariam in Addis Ababa.

“Ethiopian Airlines flies to over 58 destinations in Africa connecting the continent, moving people and goods, and thus making the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA] possible,” Songwe said.

The meeting follows the signing in March of the AfCFTA by over 40 African leaders, and the launch— in January—of the Single African Air Transport Market (Saatm), an African Union (AU) initiative to create a single unified air transport market in Africa.

The liberalisation of civil aviation in Africa is expected to steer economic integration on the continent.

Songwe described the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation facilities as “an outstanding centre of excellence,” noting that sustainable improvements in the sector require complex changes in a range of policy dimensions in areas such as infrastructure, trade facilitation and services.

For his part, GebreMariam agreed with Songwe, stating that trade logistics required the focus and commitment of all African countries and that it is important to liberalise the air market in Africa.

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