Aviation is a catalyst for socio-economic development and is particularly critical to the economies of landlocked countries, said ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu.
Dr Liu raised this point during a recent mission to Burkina Faso, where she conducted high-level bilateral meetings with the country’s Prime Minister H E Paul Kaba Tieba. She also held a meeting with the Transport Minister. The ICAO Secretary General encouraged the Government to provide appropriate infrastructure and to facilitate air connectivity for the transportation of passengers and cargo, in coordination with other transport modes.
She explained: “The development of safe, secure, and efficient air connectivity is a strategic global objective for ICAO as it is a vital lever for development. For landlocked countries in particular, such as Burkina Faso, aviation should be identified as a priority sector within its national strategy. Through our No Country Left Behind programme and the support of our regional offices, ICAO is committed to facilitating all member states’ efforts to improve their air services through greater compliance with the global standards.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Burkina Faso for its long standing cooperation with ICAO.
“The Government must pursue strong support for the aviation sector, including continuous compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices. Burkina Faso’s role within the implementation of ICAO’s continental strategies – the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) and the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation in Africa (AFI SECFAL Plan) – is particularly essential.” She also called on the Government to lend support to the establishment of a Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (RSOO) for States of West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The Prime Minister welcomed the Secretary General’s remarks and confirmed that the country’s national development agenda will take ICAO’s guidance and recommendations into account.
Dr Liu also pursued ICAO’s regional objectives through discussions with the President of the Commission of UEMOA, Mr Cheikh Hadjibou Soumare, noting the importance of the establishment of a RSOO. ICAO is currently conducting a joint operational safety and airworthiness developmental project (COSCAP) with UEMOA. Its transformation into a full-fledged RSOO, with the support of ICAO’s Technical Cooperation Bureau, is expected to be finalised in the next couple of months.
“ICAO and the West African Economic and Monetary Union share many priority areas and strategic objectives,” Dr Liu observed. A plan of action covering identified priority areas and activities in all ICAO Strategic Objectives was agreed upon and signed by both parties at the end of this visit.
The Representative of Burkina Faso on the Council of ICAO, Ambassador Moumouni Dieguimde, and ICAO’s Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Mr Mam Sait Jallow, accompanied the Secretary General on her mission.