Mr Omar Hamidou Tchiana, Senior Minister and Minister of Transport of Niger, on Thursday said Ghana and Niger are exploring aviation areas for partnership.
Speaking to the GNA in an interview on the second day of the maiden African Air Show 2017, he said Ghana and Niger had a long-standing relationship and partnership, with Nigeriens coming to Ghana over the past 50 years.
He said Niger has an airline; Niger Airways and since Ghana was working on establishing a hone-based carrier, would explore options for partnership with Ghana’s new home-based airline when established.
Mr Tchiana, speaking on the state of aviation on the continent, said there was a lot to do in the sector in Africa.
He noted that instead of having a direct flight from Niamey to Accra for the Air Show, which would have taken about two hours, he had to fly about eight hours via several connections to get to Accra.
“So we have a lot to do in aviation, and African Ministers are committed to develop aviation in Africa,” he said; adding that if aviation was developed, Africa could do business, tourism and other things on the continent.
In order to address the lapses in the sector, he stressed the need for private sector to get interested in aviation, especially since developing aviation was resource-intensive.
He noted that countries in Europe, and the United States had developed their aviation sector through private participation thus the need for African private sector to commit to getting involved in Africa aviation.
Mr Tchiana also lauded the first African Air Show in West Africa, saying actors in the sector in Africa usually attended such shows in Dubai and North Africa.
“This is the first one in West Africa and I am very proud that Ghana hosted it,” he said.
Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of Aviation, said Ghana was open to exploring partnerships with Niger in the aviation sector.
She noted that the south-south cooperation and collaboration with sister countries would be good for Ghana.
“We support each other in aviation on the West coast because we either sink or float together and I believe that would help us a lot. Whatever expertise we have, we can share with them and whatever expertise they have, they can also share with us,” she stated.
She noted further the need to harmonize individual actions in the aviation sector in the sub-region to ensure a strong team.
“Collaboration is very important…the trend is to strengthen your aviation structures, then launch out and leverage your strengths to partner others,” she said.