A report recently released by independent think tank, Think Security Africa (TSA), sheds light on how, besides strengthening African economies, increased capacity in the Africa’s aviation sector can also serve to improve national security and access to humanitarian aid.

The study cites that one of the key impediments to improving capacity in aviation is that many African governments lack the resources to build and improve capacity in this crucial sector.

It goes on to note that the sweeping infrastructure improvements which are required in the aviation sector are somehow far beyond the current capacity of many African governments.

The TSA report, entitled Spotlight on Aviation Security in Africa, also looks at the importance of boosting efforts to secure Africa’s airspace.

The report notes that such efforts are becoming increasingly important in view of growing security challenges, such as national defence challenges, conflict management, humanitarian relief, transnational crime, and terrorism in Africa.

The report cites the increasing diversification of Africa’s economic partnerships as a key reason for African countries to start re-evaluating their national defence positions, in particular arrangements to secure African national air spaces.

Africa’s growing interdependence with countries around the world may prove beneficial as far as trade and infrastructure development is concerned, but, it may also expose African countries to new national defence risks in future, the study notes.

“In addition to potential future national defence challenges, a number of African countries are embroiled in complicated insurgencies, terrorist threats and rebellions inimical to general security in Africa. Improving the capacity of African air forces will not be a panacea, but it will give African governments an edge in situations that have resulted in a destabilising stalemate,” says TSA founder, Adunola Abiola

Furthermore, there are few governments capable of monitoring what is going on throughout their airspace. This creates severe present and future vulnerabilities for African governments, and ultimately makes the task of trying to improve security in Africa far more daunting.

In addition to national defence and security concerns, international relief efforts in conflict zones across Africa mostly rely on air travel to get supplies to those that are most in need.

The international humanitarian community requires a secure environment to operate in and serve people that are facing life and death situations.

Thus, the report concludes that governments should actively consider enhancing the concept of air operations, and utilising aerial space.

Image (UNHCR): The study cites that one of the key impediments to improving capacity in aviation is that many African governments lack the resources to build and improve capacity in this crucial sector.

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