Kenya newspaper calls for aviation help
Ambassador Godec, Director Fitts & Sec. Foxx
Should try to help
The Editorial Board of Daily Nation has called for help. Its headline makes it clear that the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority faces challenges as evidenced by the dot point summary and a concluding sentence:
- There is a serious problem with the safety standards and especially for the airlines operating small aircraft.
- This is the reason why the aviation authority must take complete charge and enforce quality standards.
- Aircrafts must be regularly inspected and airline operators have to adhere to security standards.
“Clearly, there is a serious problem with the safety standards and especially for the airlines operating small aircrafts.”
The country motto: “Harambee“. “Let us all pull together”, suggests a country open to cooperation. The FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (Category I) and the ICAO USOAP both find the KCAA as meeting international standards.
The former British colony has a positive pattern of economic growth, but still ranks poorly in the World Bank’s HDI (145 out of 186 countries ranked). Its exports are growing but depend on an inefficient agricultural industry, Kenya probably cannot afford outside help.
That’s where Ambassador Robert F. Godec, USTDA Sub-Saharan Regional Director Linda M. Fitts and perhaps former DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx (in that position he led a trade mission to this region) may be able to help. The Ambassador, who has been at the Nairobi, US Embassy since 2012, probably has heard of the deficiencies highlighted by the Daily Nation. Director Fitts is the US Trade Development Agency senior official charged with developing the agency’s strategies and assistance activities throughout the region. Her organization lists as a priority sector—
Well-functioning transportation networks – air, surface and maritime – are vital to an economy’s growth potential. USTDA has decades of experience working with its partner countries to modernize transportation infrastructure to facilitate the movement of people and goods, both within and across borders. From providing technical assistance that supports trade facilitation, to piloting U.S. technologies for customs systems at borders, to modernizing “hard” infrastructure at ports, railways and airports, the Agency introduces high-performing U.S. solutions that can increase capacity, enhance efficiency and improve safety.
Further, the Department’s assessment of the US’ relationship with Kenya quite positively:
“As one of East Africa’s largest economies, Kenya is a growing business, financial, and transportation hub for the region and U.S. investment in Kenya and bilateral trade are important elements of the U.S.-Kenya relationship…. Subsequent elections in 2013 and 2017 were relatively more peaceful, though serious concerns about the independence and credibility of democratic institutions remain.
U.S. Assistance to Kenya
As an important developing partner in East Africa, Kenya is a significant recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. The United States seeks to advance its national security and economic prosperity interests by helping strengthen economic stability, security, health, education, environment, rule of law, and democratic governance in Kenya, as well as by countering violent extremism and combatting wildlife trafficking.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Kenya is East Africa’s largest and most important business, financial, and transportation hub. The United States was the third largest destination for Kenya’s exports and the seventh largest source of its imports in 2017. The United States was the number one source of foreign tourist arrivals to Kenya in 2016 and 2017. U.S. private sector interest in Kenya remains robust with numerous American companies engaged in Kenya, especially within the technology, consumer services, banking, and finance sectors. Many American companies have their regional or Africa-wide headquarters in Nairobi. Kenya enjoys preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Kenya include agricultural products, aircraft parts, and machinery…”.
The recent creation of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), composed of twenty-three African states, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, adds to the high value return associated with investing USTDA funds in Nairobi. That launch of a single aviation market in should boost connectiv
ity, reduce fares and stimulate economic growth on a continent widely considered the most expensive and inconvenient to fly around.
Given those strategic foreign considerations about and positive relations with Kenya, a USTDA project to help KCAA improve its safety standards, surveillance and application would seem most worthy.
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