By NBF News

By Jimoh Babatunde
The Airports Council International (ACI) and African Airlines Association (AFRAA) say the air transport industry in Africa will grow at a faster rate and contribute more significantly to the economic development of the continent if all stakeholders work together towards improvement of intra-Africa air services.

This position was unfolded at the opening ceremony of the Routes Africa Development Forum held at L'aico L'amitie Hotel, Bamako, Mali.

In his presentation titled Connectivity: BuildingĀ  A Platform For Success, the Regional Director of ACI-Africa, Mr. Ali Tounsi said ACI is already working together with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on enhancement of safety and security under the Apex in Safety initiative launched by ACI in 2010.

According to him, Africa's air trasnport industry has huge growth prospects but requires identification of priorities by the authorities and proper tailoring of airport projects while the airports need to provide top quality services. He enthused that it was possible to achieve the air transport industry success story of Brazil and China in Africa.

In his remark, the Secretary- General of AFRAA, Mr. Elijah Chingosho proposed the development of additional hubs, especially in West and Central Africa; improvement of airports' infrastructure and the full implementation of the Yammoussoukro Decision.

He said the development of the intra-African routes network would lead to increase in the sector's contributions to GDP, increase in tourism and job creation.