During the third-annual ICAO World Aviation Forum, which concluded last week in Abuja, Nigeria, infrastructure was an important topic of discussion. ICAO said its council president, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, warned African leaders that the continent’s airport and air navigation infrastructure would require significant investments to keep up with global requirements in the near future.
“It is estimated that the global investment needs for airport infrastructure will be $1.8 trillion over the next 15 years,” he said. “But we must also acknowledge that air transport development projects today receive barely 5% of official development assistance globally, and that this total greatly underestimates their potential socio-economic returns.”
Aliu continued to say that ICAO’s global plans should be used to guide and align all state modernization and expansion projects, according to ICAO. He also noted how important it is for states to establish transparent, stable and predictable investment climates to attract global investors, ICAO said. Airport and air navigation system modernization needs to be accompanied by new training capacities to make the transition sustainable over the long-term, according to ICAO.
Africa recently adopted a new Declaration and Framework of a Plan of Action for Development of Aviation Infrastructure in Africa, ICAO said, under the African Union’s “Lomé Plan of Action 2017 – 2019”.
“In particular, the commitment made by African States and Regional Economic Communities to ensure the inclusion of better-defined aviation projects in the Program for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA) has been greatly appreciated,” Aliu said. “And to strongly support the implementation of the Framework for a Plan of Action, ICAO will enhance its cooperation with African States in line with the African Union's Agenda 2063, and consistent with the priorities of our No Country Left Behind initiative.”
ICAO said that several panel during the event in Nigeria called for a holistic and transformative approach to reach the goal of “no constraints of infrastructure capacity, technology and financial resources for aviation development.” A combination of institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks, along with monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, is necessary to encourage investment and other finance transactions.
“I cannot stress strongly enough how important this planning is to the benefits you expect to be generated and captured by your state, and that continued development in aviation infrastructure capacity and technological innovation is critical to our desired outcomes,” ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu said during her closing remarks. “This in turn requires substantial modernization investments over the long term, and an expansion of aviation capacity in all states consistent with ICAO’s growth forecasts and global plans.”
ICAO said Liu also emphasized that the organization would re-double its efforts to enhance and develop tools, analysis and services to help governments identify aviation deficiencies and infrastructure gaps. Liu said states should align and integrate their aviation infrastructure programs, based on a balanced development approach that includes multi-modal transport and related urban planning initiatives.