World Bank Urges African Liberalisation

AFRICAN COUNTRIES can improve air safety and promote their own economic growth and development prospects by putting into practice commitments they have made to open local air services to foreign operators, says a new study by the World Bank.
“At present 31 African countries have poor safety standards, resulting in more air crashes than in any other region of the world,” said Charles Schlumberger, the World Bank’s lead air transport specialist and the author of the study, ‘Open Skies for Africa’.  “For them achieving an adequate safety and security oversight regime is the most urgent air services policy challenge.”
The study, released at the Air Transport: ‘What Route to Sustainability?’ conference co-hosted by McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada, calls on African countries to implement commitments they made in the Yamoussoukro Decision.  This choice commits its 44 signatory countries to deregulate air services, and promote regional air markets open to transnational competition.  The study concludes that about one-third of African states are reluctant to liberalise as this would expose non-competitive carriers to operational standards they would be unlikely to meet.
“An historic opportunity is being missed,” Charles Schlumberger told the conference.  “Ten countries have not signed up to or completed proper ratification of this decision and many others that are signatories have not implemented it.  Meantime, most countries in Africa that have abandoned their ailing carriers and opened up to foreign operators now have air services, both passenger and freight, that are more efficient, safer, and with more competitive prices.”
Using official safety statistics, the study claims that over the past decade, Africa’s aircraft hull-loss accident rate is more than six times higher than those of Asia and Latin America, and more than 12 times higher than those of Europe and North America.