On Thursday, 18 August 2022, at an event sponsored by Bank Windhoek, the Namibian aviation industry launched the Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum, an initiative led by Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and its industry partners. This ongoing collaborative project, which brings together all stakeholders with an interest in aviation, tourism, and related sectors, will culminate in a main event scheduled for 16 -18 November 2022.
The purpose of the forum, a first of its kind for Namibia, is to create a platform where key industry players and stakeholders will share, tackle, rethink and put into motion, ideas on the trajectory that the aviation industry and its related ecosystem will take over the next few years. It further seeks to cement the industry's role as key to Namibia's economic recovery and growth, as well as driving the revival of the aviation and other ancillary industries such as tourism after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
This forum will bring to the forefront, among other issues, the discussion of how aviation can play a central role in the achievement of national aspirations as encapsulated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPPII), National Development Plans (NDPs), and National Transport Policy. Through ongoing technical working groups, coupled with ideas to be shared at the main forum event, this project will also seek to address pressing matters with an aim to drive sustainable growth in the aviation ecosystem.
Officiating at the event, Honourable John Mutorwa, Minister of Works and Transport, emphasised the importance of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). "We believe that the realization of the Single African Air Transport Market will serve to enhance Namibia growth in the sector and initiatives such as this continue to drive the discussion and advocate for an open, free and fully accessible air transport market in Africa. It is encouraging that this very project supports advocacy which is one of the key pillars of the Single African Air Transport Market. This translates to Namibia's position at the frontline of advancing the African union's agenda 2063 where the Single African Air Transport Market is a flagship project alongside the AfCFTA," says Hon. Mutorwa.
Dr. Leake Hangala, Chairperson of NAC Board said that the local, international and regional airports have seen a considerable growth in passenger numbers, with a number of airlines knocking at NAC's doors to open new routes.
"This is why we are excited to be part of this great initiative to support structural, regulatory, and other reforms that will pave way for a reimagined aviation sector.
"While the aviation industry has always been a part of the economy's engine, we believe at this critical point in the future of the country that the sector can play an even more central role as a driver for the economy. As a result of this forum, we hope to integrate the sector more strongly into the National Transport Policy, the National Development Plans including vision 2030,"Dr. Hangala states.
The launch event, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club was attended by members of the local and regional aviation community, senior government officials, business leaders as well as members of the diplomatic community. The project is expected to pave the way for the development of a series of policy and structural reforms, which will be outlined in a white paper as well as a National Aviation Strategy which speaks to the country’s broader aspirations.