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Brussels, 31 March 2009

Historic Aviation Conference between the European Union and Africa

The first ever EU-Africa Aviation Conference will take place on 2-3 April in Windhoek, Namibia. This conference constitutes a historic landmark, with over one hundred participants from all the African countries and all the EU Member States. Representatives of the Commission of the African Union, the European Commission, African regional organisations, national civil aviation authorities and industrial stakeholders will meet together over the two days to lay the foundations for a new EU-Africa partnership in the field of aviation.

Antonio Tajani, the Commission Vice-President responsible for transport said: ‘The Windhoek meeting should enable us to launch a new initiative to stimulate collaboration with Africa in the aviation sector’, adding that: ‘Whilst there are clearly plenty of challenges, we have the duty and the resources to come up with solutions and lay the foundations for a new structured dialogue to tackle all the issues directly and thus stimulate the African aviation sector. It is in our common interest’.

The Windhoek Conference was arranged as the result of an initiative by Vice-President Antonio Tajani and African Union Commissioner Elham Ibrahim to develop closer ties in the transport sector, notably in the field of aviation. It is intended to create a platform for open and constructive dialogue on the future development of the African air transport sector and to pave the way for further collaboration.

All aspects of the sector will be considered, including the most sensitive issues:

  • the need to improve aviation safety - a priority for Africa;
  • how the African aviation sector can achieve an integrated market in order to modernise civil aviation in Africa and apply the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999[1];
  • air traffic management and the achievement of a single airspace, comparing and contrasting European and African experiences;
  • improving technical expertise in the field of satellite radio navigation;
  • environmental protection measures and how to implement a similar policy in Africa;
  • the introduction of high-level security measures on the African continent.

The conference will make it possible to establish the framework for this new partnership and to determine the action that will be required to create the necessary structures as swiftly as possible.

Further information on the EU-Africa conference is available at:

[1] The Yamoussoukro Decision aims to create a single African airspace, one of its most innovative provisions is that (eligible) air carriers have unrestricted access to routes within Africa.

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