The SAATM is a flagship project of the Agenda 2063 of the African Union. It was launched during the 30th Ordinary Summit of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 29th January 2018. In 1999, the Yamoussoukro Decision committed 44 signatory countries to deregulating air services and to opening regional air markets to transnational competition. The implementation of this agreement, however, has been slow, and the benefits have not been realized. Implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision will transform Intra-African Air Connectivity and will gradually improve Africa’s share of global passenger traffic. The main objective of the SAATM is the implementation of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision.
The SAATM will eliminate the need for separate bilateral air service agreements (BASAs) between individual countries. It promotes multilateralism for air transport in Africa, as envisaged under the YD, with a view to making the entire African aviation market a single market. Under the SAATM, any current or future air service agreement signed between any or all of the 35 member States, must be YD compliant and must meet the below requirements:
The African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) is charged with the responsibility of managing air transport liberalization in Africa. This responsibility includes the SAATM, which ensures that aviation assumes its rightful place, role and contributes to intra-African connection. The SAATM underscores Africa’s social, economic, political integration and boosts intra-African trade and tourism as per AU-Agenda 2063.