Ken is a Director at Network Travels, a travel agency based in Nigeria.

His company operates from Eket in Akwa Ibom State.

From the Eket Beach, he could see Malabo, Equitorial Guinea. But if he has to send clients to Malabo, he would have to fly them first to Lagos. From Lagos, he would fly them to Paris, France before connecting directly to Malabo.

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It is a merry go round. In this instance, it is far much faster and convenient to travel by road, but that is what air connectivity in Africa looks like.

“The West African market is very bad in terms of connectivity plus it is very expensive,” Ken tells Bounce News on phone.

“To fly someone to Abidjan from Nigeria is more expensive than flying someone to London. Every week, I fly someone to Duala from Port Harcourt. What do I do? I have to fly to Lagos first. Then I have to fly to Lome, Togo before connecting to Duala, when the two countries are practically next to each other,” he said.

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All this may change as soon as the Single African Air Transport Market launched on the sidelines of the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday gets implemented.

“It is imperative that we do this for improved commercial business between all the African countries. Whether this works is a different thing. It will be beneficial for commercialization for Nigerians travelling all over Africa, if it works,” he added.

The Single African Air Transport Market is expected to among other things, facilitate the free movement of flights between African countries by liberalizing frequencies, fares and capacities, breaking down barriers that have in the past increased costs.

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Less than half of African countries have signed the commitment, but majority of the countries are expected to come onboard soon.

Moreover, big players such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia have already pledged their commitment.

It is expected that with this arrangement, air service connectivity will improve, air fares will drop by more than 25% and air passenger volume will increase to 200 million per year.

It will also enhance intra-African trade, contribute to tourism growth, create more jobs and lead to increase in national GDP.

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