LOME (Togo) — The fourth meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) takes place in Lome, Togo, on Monday, to harmonize Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) among members of the Single African Air Transport Market.

Organized by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with the Togolese government, the meeting will also – Review the implementation of the prioritized Action Plan for the operation of SAATM; Adopt and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the operationalization of SAATM; discuss capacity building on the Yamoussoukro Decision Regulatory Texts; and elect the next Bureau of the Ministerial Working Group.

The Ministerial Working Group is composed of African Member States that have signed the Solemn Commitment and it is responsible for three main functions.

They are to follow up implementation progress on the establishment of the single market; provide guidance; and spearhead an advocacy campaign to urge the rest of the Member States to join the single market.

In particular, each Minister of the Working Group has responsibility to enable a conducive environment for the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision in their respective countries.

This includes raising awareness within their State among other Ministers and facilitating the establishment of the Single Market.

The Working Group is open to those States that may wish to join the single market later, and the Ministerial Working Group is technically supported by Experts from the air transport sector from their respective countries, the AUC, AFCAC and RECs as well as other key stakeholders, who are responsible for the preparation of its meetings.

The Group has since adopted its Rules of Procedure and has developed a Roadmap of specific activities for both the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and the establishment of the Single Market and the establishment of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism.

The current Member States that have subscribed to the solemn commitment are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Capo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, CAte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.