Speaking to journalists the Minister of Transport and Aviation on Thursday 24th October 2018, Mr. Jallow stated that the objectives of his visit are to interact with members of the new administration and help them in the area of capacity building.
He explained that global priorities, programmes and plans to lift Civil Aviation Authority to regional level, and share information on regional basis in terms of assistance and to know what Sierra Leone’s specific needs are in relation to boosting the field of aviation is paramount.
He added that: “today, we have over 2 billion passengers worldwide; and the traffic level is growing significantly, and by 2030, the worldwide traffic level is expected to double.”
In terms of benefit for Africa, air transport is contributing approximately $17 billion to GDP with 7 million employees. With that said, 15 out of those 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are impacted by aviation. In Africa—specifically Sierra Leone—potentials exist for growth and benefit, but there are challenges and threat due to high accident rate, poor level of compliance with safety and security standards, inability to effectively oversee aviation sectors etc. These factors lead to other countries’ imposing restrictions on other countries of which Sierra Leone is a vivid example,” he said.
Mr. Jallow said that he had met with the Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa who reaffirmed government’s commitment to improving the safety and security of the Civil Aviation and Airport Authorities respectively.
He went on to say that, Mr. Saffa told Bo Administration that he is very worried about safety and security concerns and that he is ready to work with the SLCAA to ensure that they succeed in their move to improve on air transport service to match-up with international standards.
“I believe Sierra Leone can eclipse the compliance level in safety and security in spite of the numerous challenges. But the government has a greater role to play in making that a reality. Air transportation plays a significant role in boosting the economy as it provides employment opportunities and contributes to the country’s GDP. Improving on air transport means promoting economic diversification in areas such as tourism, agriculture, trade, aviation etc. Sierra Leone is at 20% compliance level in terms of safety, which is far below the 60% safety margin set by African Ministers responsible for Aviation in Abuja which is known as the Abuja Safety Targets,” Mr. Jallow stated.