ECOWAS, ICAO and BAGASOO Update Technical Agreements to Accelerate Implementation of the West and Central Africa Air Transport Development Support Program (PASTA-CO)

The ECOWAS Commission’s Directorate of Transport convened officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Banjul Accord Group on Safety Oversight (BAGASOO) from May 7-9, 2024, in Lagos, Nigeria, to review the implementation of the West and Central Africa Air Transport Development Support Program (PASTA-CO).

The PASTA-CO project, funded by the African Development Bank and complemented by contributions from the ECOWAS community budget, aims to provide safe and efficient air navigation services in a unified airspace to support trade and regional socio-economic integration in West and Central Africa.

Strengthening Collaboration for Safer West African Aviation

The meeting brought together experts and project partners – ECOWAS, ICAO and BAGASOO – to review the progress of the implementation of key project components, including:

  • The creation of a regional pool of aviation safety experts to support ECOWAS member states
  • The establishment of an accident investigation agency for West and Central Africa
  • Support and facilitation of member states’ participation in the ACI World Airport Excellence Program (APEX)
  • Assistance in the certification of international airports in West and Central Africa
  • The establishment of a Search and Rescue (SAR) mechanism for the region
  • Training and capacity building for safety inspectors
  • Mobilization of resources to improve airport infrastructure in member states

Towards Accelerated Implementation

During the meeting, participants reviewed the related technical agreements and agreed on an action plan with concrete activities to ensure the timely implementation of the remaining components, taking into account the new deadline approved by the African Development Bank.

Stakeholders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to accelerate the implementation of the PASTA-CO project and to improve the safety and efficiency of air transport in West and Central Africa.

Key Statements from Participants

  • Mr. Chris Appiah, Acting Director of Transport, ECOWAS Commission: “ECOWAS expresses its gratitude to the African Development Bank for the extension of the project’s grant agreement deadline, which provides an opportunity to quickly complete the crucial project activities. We reaffirm our commitment to paying particular attention to the timely completion of activities under ECOWAS’ responsibility.”

  • Ms. Jailza Soraya Rodrigues Silva, Executive Director of BAGASOO: “ECOWAS’ efforts have enabled all stakeholders to agree on concrete ways to achieve the project’s objectives.”

  • Mr. Nika Mèhèza Manzi, Deputy Regional Director of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) West and Central Africa Office: “ICAO reaffirms its readiness to find solutions to obstacles to project implementation and to collaborate with ECOWAS to pursue actions aimed at improving the aviation industry in West Africa.”

The PASTA-CO project is part of ECOWAS’ ambition to create a unified and safe airspace to promote regional air transport development and stimulate the region’s socio-economic integration.

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