Rwanda has won the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) award after surpassing the global average in implementing safety standards.
Overall, Rwanda scored 74 percent in implementing the standards with safety areas which include protection of safety data, safety information and related sources, enhancement of safety management system (SMS) and State safety oversight (SSO) system and critical elements (CEs).
This score surpasses the global average which 64% by 10%.
Other African countries which are members of ICAO scored below the global average percentage in implementation of the safety standards.
“Rwanda has attained the biggest achievement in safety and sustained planned leadership efforts. This makes Rwanda implementation to score high compared to others,” ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said during the ICAO Safety Management conference that started in Kigali on Tuesday.
ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. With headquarters in Quebec, Canada, the organization classifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
The organization has 192 member states of which 191 are United Nations members.
Based on their achievements in 2015, only 14 States were in 2016 recognized by the ICAO Council for significant progress in resolving safety oversight deficiencies and improving the effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
These include Austria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ecuador, El Salvador, Israel, Italy, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, San Marino, and United Arab Emirates.
Commenting on Rwanda’s achievement this year, Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete said: “It’s my honor to accept this award on behalf of my country and this is an encouragement to our leadership and sign that we need to do more.”
The award was handed over to Rwanda during the ongoing four day ICAO symposium on aviation safety, under the theme “Effective safety management”.
The symposium taking place at Radisson Blu and Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) will also address issues of incompetence, lack of training, qualified inspectors and financial constraints that have pulled back Africa’s ranking in aviation safety resulting to less traffic and collapse of some airlines.
While there has not been any fatal aviation accident on the continent, closed air skies cost Africa more than $700 million in 2015 and more than $800 million in 2016.
On the contrary, Europe made more profits amounting to $35.6billion in 2016 according to the International air transport Association (IATA) data.
The Ghanaian Minister for Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, who yesterday signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between the Rwanda and Ghana, told KT Press that Africa should wake up and claim its position in aviation learning from Rwanda’s example.