Nigeria is conspicuously missing among the twenty-six African countries that have so far committed themselves to the establishment of the concept of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

The African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat made the disclosure at the fourth ministerial working group meeting on the operationalization of the SAATM currently taking place in Lome, the Togolese capital.

According to Mahamat, some of the countries who have signed the commitment include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon and Ghana.

Other countries on the partial list include Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, South Africa, Togo and Zimbabwe.

It has been five months since the AU officially launched the SAATM, which is part of an AU reform package under the Agenda 2063 in a bid to primarily boost connectivity between African states and to reduce fares and stimulate economic growth through air transport and tourism. SAATM forms part of AU.

It took three decades since conception for the launch to take off in Addis Ababa after the 30th Summit of Heads of States and Governments in January 2018.

In unveiling the plaque back in January, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame who doubles as current AU President stressed the importance of the initiative in further integrating Africa and Africans.

“Today, we will launch the single African air transport market. This is a major step for transportation. We are nearly ready to adopt the continental free trade area,” Kagame said.

By setting this up, African nations hope to imitate and build on the single aviation markets in places like Europe and Latin America. The AU also hopes to encourage cross-border investment and innovation as well as improve business operations and efficiency.