After five years of supporting African initiatives in various domains of satellite navigation, the JPO aims at playing a key role in the implementation of the continental vision on satellite navigation through its institutionalisation within the African Union space framework.
Due to the continent’s large size and limited infrastructure for ground-based transportation, aviation has the potential to play a critical role in Africa’s socio-economic development – supporting growth in international trade, tourism and regional integration.
Accounting for only 3% of the world’s total air traffic, Africa however represents an important untapped market. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global passenger numbers are set to double - reaching 8.2 billion by 2037. During this same period, Africa is projected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% according to IATA, which can be translated into an additional 199 million passengers, for a total of 334 million African passengers by 2037. This growth rate is expected to be improved with the Single Air Transport Market (SAATM) launch in January 2018 and the Single Seamless Sky demanded by African States in reference to Yamoussoukro Decision (YD).
However, to achieve these numbers, Africa will benefit from setting up the infrastructure needed to safely handle this increasing level of air traffic. Other benefits would include better facilitation of PBN implementation for States in respect to ICAO Resolution A37-11 and also reduction of safety issues such as CFIT and DDC in the airports that are not equipped and which cannot afford ILS ground aids. First and foremost, this means expanding the use of satellite navigation technology in general and, more specifically, adopting satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS).
The EU has good experience in developing common rules on aviation security and harmonising aviation security legislation across Europe, an experience model from which Africa may benefit in terms of best practices.
This process started with bilateral cooperation programmes between the EU and a number of individual African States and regional groupings. In 2011, the EU initiated a framework programme through its Action Plan 2011-2013 “Support to Air transport sector and satellite navigation in Africa”. The two projects that came out of this programme – SAFIR (Satellite navigation services for AFrIcan Region) and TREGA (Training on EGNOS-GNSS in Africa) – were specifically created to support the development and introduction of EGNOS-based SBAS services in Africa.