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Ghana will upgrade aviation infrastructure - President

March 31, 2017, 2:22 p.m.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the importance of the aviation industry to development, indicating that Ghana would upgrade its infrastructure to reap the sector’s benefits.

He said one of the biggest obstacles to boosting trade on both the regional and continental scale was the absence of good connection and good infrastructure that “connects our various countries”.

President Akufo-Addo said this on Wednesday when the President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

Dr Aliu is in Ghana to participate in the Second International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meeting on Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa, being held in Accra.

President Akufo-Addo said as evidenced by “the making of Dubai, all of us have seen what Dubai has done. Essentially, the story of the country is that of an airport and an aviation connection, out of which has sprung a whole lot of things. It has now made Dubai one of the dominant economic sectors of the world.”

He said Ghana would be building similar infrastructure to match up with countries that had done better in the aviation industry.

“We are modest, but hopefully we can also put in an infrastructure that would allow us to get there. To provide this focus, I had the privilege, as President, to appoint a Minister who is a very experienced, hardworking, dynamic woman to provide that focal leadership. And everything that I am hearing so far is that my judgment was not wrong,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude to ICAO for choosing Ghana as the host country for its conference.

Dr Aliu appealed to President Akufo-Addo to lead the efforts within West Africa to develop the aviation industry.

He said the time had come for West Africa and, indeed, Africa to contribute effectively to, and take its pride of place in the global transport system.

“We want to see the whole West Africa region become a domestic market, where there is active movement of people. Everywhere, air transport has become very cheap and it can be so in Africa if we have the right structures,” he said.

The ICAO President lauded President Akufo-Addo for the leadership he was providing for the aviation sector and commended Ghana for the significant role she continued to play as a member of the ICAO.

He said ICAO had established a ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative to reward countries like Ghana who had shown commitment towards political stability.

“We have established the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative primarily to assist developing states, particularly those that demonstrate political commitment, to enhance civil aviation development.

“Ghana has demonstrated that political commitment and that is why we continue to work with Ghana in terms of capacity building and training in the area of safety, security, and infrastructure development in order to assist you (Ghana) to become the regional leader that you are and that you should continue to be,” he said.

With the aviation industry expected to grow and double in size in the next 15 years, Dr Alui said Ghana stood a greater chance of benefiting heavily from the massive investments it had made in the aviation sector.

He congratulated President Akufo-Addo for appointing Mrs Cecilia Dapaah as Minister of Aviation and described her as “a very indefatigable goal-getter,” who is doing a great job for Ghana.