KIGALI - The African Development Bank (AfDB), has signed a grant agreement with COMESA, providing $8.6m for the construction of the regional air traffic surveillance centre.
The centre, known as the Communications, Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management systems (CNS/ATM), will be located in Musanze District, under the Karisimbi project.
The COMESA Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, signed the grant agreement with AfDB representative in Zambia, Freddie Kwesiga, in Lusaka.
Augustine Iyako, the coordinator of the Karisimbi Project said that the next step is to have a regulatory framework for member countries to join the regional air space.
“We have the equipment and funding so what remains is to create a legal and regulatory framework for a united upper airspace for the member countries to have our air space controlled by one centre,” Iyako said.
COMESA -the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa - has 19 members.
Iyako said that the project’s modern communication equipment, will enable many aircrafts to fly at the same time.
In a statement from the COMESA secretariat, Sindiso said that the project will not only cement the integration process, but also elevate the economic benefits among member states.
“This project will definitely deepen our integration process; it will help us integrate not only our trade but our airspace as well,” Mr. Ngwenya noted.
AfDB’s Kwesiga said that the CNS/ATM project has come at a time when the bank is working closely with its partners to deepen regional integration initiatives, especially those aimed at easing transport and communication barriers across the African continent.
He pointed out that the bank’s decision to support the Airspace Integration project was guided by the need to assist the air transport industry cope with the growing volume of air traffic worldwide and improve air traffic navigation safety, mainly through the adoption of modern technologies and ICT development.