Market News

PCR Test Reduces African Travel By 15% – AU - INDEPENDENT

MAY 21, 2022

LAGOS  – The African Union Commission (AUC) has said that the compulsory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for all international travellers is reducing the total number of travellers in Africa by 15 per cent. 

This is as the commission mentioned the full implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) by 2023 as one of its key priorities. 

Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, AU, while speaking at the weeklong 7th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in conjunction with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in Abuja ,insisted that the PCR test cost places African aviation at a significant disadvantage. 

According to him, PCR tests being the standard tests required by African States cost between $30-$150 per test across countries in Africa, thereby increasing travel cost for Africans by additional 10 per cent and reducing the demand at continental level by 15 per cent. 

Rather, said that in order to support a sustainable re-opening of air transport services, the AU through Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending member states to encourage the use Rapid Diagnostic Antigen test (RDT) for fully vaccinated passengers. 

Quoting statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Abou-Zeid stated that over the past year, governments around the world has provided over $400 billion to airlines to support their survival and restart efforts, given the importance of aviation to economies. 

But, in Africa, he said the total estimated amount of the financial relief measures provided to airlines $2,721,539,647 (about $2.7 billion) by end of 2021. 

This, he explained that this included the government support in the form of providing loans, guarantees, wage subsidies, and direct cash injections to airlines: $2,638,765,827. 

According to him, this support was insignificant and said the AUC had continued to urge African States and our key Development Finance Institutions on the continent to further support African airlines, using many forms, including deferral of charges and taxes whenever possible, sovereign guarantees for private airlines, wage subsidies and other payment support. 

Besides, he said that the AU Taskforce on safe reopening of borders is also working on harmonising the existing digital platforms for traveller health credentials and border requirements. 

He expressed that it was important to ensure that the adopted platforms are interoperable and are recognised by other regions to address the issue of restrictions to travel within or out of Africa. 

He urged governments to continue on their health protocols or requireto provide timely and accurate updates ments and to continue to provide digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates. 

Besides, he pointed out that the operationalisation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was still among the AU’s key priorities to ensure sustainable restart and recovery of the industry and also improve air transport connectivity in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

“I am glad to inform you that AUC finalised a continental study on the benefits of SAATM, which is now serving as advocacy tool to urge remaining States to join SAATM. 

AU said that one of its major priorities in 2023 was to provide the legal framework for SAATM and remove all the current bottlenecks slowing down its full implementation. 

“Our current key priorities now next year include the establishment of a strong regulatory framework to fully implement SAATM and remove all the bottlenecks that are still preventing the continent to enjoy the full benefits of a safe, secure and sustainable air transport. Another priority is to develop a seamless airspace and air navigation services architecture to support SAATM. 

“The full liberalisation of air transport services in Africa and operationalisation of SAATM and particularly the improvement of connectivity and enhancement of safety and security is seen as the important enabler of the Continental free trade area and the socio-economic transformation of Africa that we all want to see in the next few years,” he added. 


This website uses cookies We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you've provided to them or that they've collected from your use of their services
Real Time Analytics