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Recently, African countries took the first major step towards cheaper continental flights and opening the continent’s skies almost three decades after it was first proposed. On January 28th 2018, twenty-three African countries launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative by the African Union (AU). An immediate benefit of the SAATM will be enhanced connectivity between African nations and a reduction in flight ticket prices. The bigger picture is the promise of job creation, improved intra-African trade and freer movement of people.
However, some experts are still very pessimistic about the idea. A few experts believe that SAATM will lead to the supremacy of African skies by a few, already dominant African airlines since most African countries do not have enough financial resources to capitalise their airlines. Martin Chemhere in his opinion believes that the Zimbabwe aerospace industry is a promise to huge prospects especially after a change of government in the country (see page 52) and in another update from Kigali, RwandAir recently commenced flights to Abuja in Nigeria and Cape Town in South Africa. Bringing the total destinations of the airline to twenty-six.
In this edition, Kate Webster – a new addition to our editorial team treks into the forest to spend time with both gorillas and the Batwa Pygmy people of Bwindi – the original people of the Uganda’s Bwindi National Park’s rainforest (see page 34). Africa as one of the most diverse continents on the planet has it all; vast deserts, lush jungles and tropical paradise islands. Sadly for many countries, mainstream tourism is still off-putting from all the red-tape. Many people regularly visit popular places like Egypt, Morocco and South Africa but with no idea of the least-visited places. Find out more on this subject with Matt Baron in his piece on page 12.