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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has praised the Nigerian government for resolving the issue of foreign airlines’ trapped funds, which totaled around $831 million. Mr. Kamil Al-Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, expressed this praise at a two-day IATA “Wings of Change Focus Africa” conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nigeria's Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo (L) in a conversation with IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East Mr Kamil Al-AwadhiTunde Moshood, Special Adviser to Media and Communications for the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, quoted Mr. Al-Awadhi, who explained the harmful effects of trapped funds on foreign airlines in various countries. He also applauded Nigeria for effectively solving this problem.

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Mr. Al-Awadhi mentioned that this swift action by the Nigerian government has regained the trust of the global civil aviation community.

Participants, including top government officials, airline representatives, air navigation service providers, international and regional associations, aircraft manufacturers, and other stakeholders in global civil aviation, widely applauded the commendation.

In a related event, the Minister emphasized the crucial role of African Foreign Affairs Ministers in implementing the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

During a plenary discussion, Mr. Keyamo advocated for the involvement of Foreign Affairs Ministers in fully operationalizing these initiatives. He argued that since these ministers set the agenda for the African Union (AU) Summit, they must prioritize the YD and SAATM to ensure political decisions are made to overcome current challenges.

Mr. Keyamo stated, “To make SAATM work, it is not solely up to African Civil Aviation Ministers. We need to mobilize the African Union to remove domestic restrictions, as political leaders in Africa have the authority to direct their ministers on the way forward.”

The IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa conference, themed “Towards a More Resilient and Sustainable African Aviation,” is a major industry event in Africa. It brings together aviation leaders, regulators, and experts to discuss key challenges and opportunities in the air transport sector.