From: Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will personally declare open the 3rd Annual World Aviation Forum (WAF) in his appreciation of Nigeria being the first country to host the biggest aviation event organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who stated this, in Abuja, in a statement, said the event would hold from the November 20-22, 2017, in Abuja.
Sirika described Nigeria’s hosting of the event as a clearly indication of the nation’s rising profile on the global aviation scene.
He said ICAO, the aviation organ of United Nations, always hosted the event at its Montreal, Canada headquarters, but Nigeria will be the first country to host the event outside Montreal.
“Hence, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to attend the opening ceremony and flag off the event”, he said.
Sirika expressed joy that the event was coming soon after Nigeria hosted the ICAO Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), adding “this is a clear indication of the confidence the Buhari administration has elicited within the sector and an endorsement by the world body of its reform programmes for the nation’s aviation industry”.
According to the Minister, the third ICAO World Aviation Forum is intended to explore the benefits of the aviation sector to social, economic development and prosperity of member states.
“It is aimed at top-ranking government officials in charge of aviation, transport and infrastructure, finance, economy and tourism; and key industry and financial partners.
“The Forum is also expected to discuss, identify needs, and facilitate the funding and financing required to accelerate the implementation of international civil aviation standards and policies, as well as global plans for aviation, in support of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative”, he added.
Among the objectives of the Forum holding in Abuja would be the establishment and alignment of infrastructure programmes and plans that are consistent with the ICAO global strategic plans for aviation like the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), and also to stimulate common and interoperable air transport systems leading to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
On the benefits of the Forum to Nigeria and, by extention, the African continent, Sirika said, “It is expected to build on the outcomes of the two previous ICAO World Aviation Forums (IWAF/1 and IWAF/2) held in November 2015 and September 2016 respectively, and, in the spirit of the No Country Left Behind initiative, tackle the existing and future financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in member states, especially in Africa”.
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