NTSB speaks at African Aviation Safety Symposium
FAA & DOT & NTSB had annual forums, but stopped (?)
Africa’s aviation growth forecasted and safety needs merits US attention
EU and China already there
NTSB’s Chief of Advocacy was a featured speaker at the recent African Civil Aviation Operational Safety Workshop. While not an act of long term commitment to this burgeoning aviation sector, the event should be a catalyst to move the DOT and FAA.
Since the Max 8 debacle, the FAA’s international standing has been in need of restoration. Neither former Administrator Dickson nor Acting Administrator Nolen has publicized a policy directive to address the poor relationships with the CAAs around the world. Rarely has there been much of a public statement of goals and aspirations set for the DOT/FAA. An exception was started by DOT Secretary Foxx, who
He targeted Mozambique, South Africa, and Kenya. He introduced U.S. firms in the transportation, energy equipment and services, and the agricultural equipment sectors to the sub-Saharan Africa region while also promoting the importance of exports of these companies’ world-class products and services. The Secretary explained his goals:
“U.S. companies are continually evaluating new markets in order to grow their business. The mission participants offer the products, services, and technological expertise needed to help these three markets achieve their goals in a variety of critical industry sectors…This trade mission represents our commitment to connecting U.S. companies to opportunities on the continent, and will lead to business growth for both U.S. companies and their local partners.”
Africa would appear to be a worthy target of opportunity (below table shows great growth) and of need:
More on the opportunities found in Africa:
ICAO, EU and China have major presences in this fertile aviation territory:
For undiscernible reasons, the FAA cancelled a very positive and promising program focused on this continent’s needs:
The FAA Policy and International office has expressed some interest in Africa, but it is nascent at best:
Africa is in need of help for its aviation growth; others are there already; SHOULDN’T THE FAA DO MORE?
In August, 2019, I wrote that Safe Skies for Africa was ending, but that the safety journey would go on in Africa, the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. Earlier this month, it was my pleasure to represent the NTSB in a presentation about best practices in safety advocacy at the Civil Aviation Operational Safety Workshop in Cape Verde.
The occasion was Aviation Safety Week, which gathered together transportation safety leaders from seven African nations, the EU, and the United States to share safety knowledge. Attendees were interested to learn from my presentation that in the United States, the accident investigator—the NTSB—has no power whatsoever to require change.
It’s been said that information + persuasion = advocacy. The idea is never to misrepresent; rather, it is to present information that makes the case most compellingly. If the case is compelling enough, your advocacy might inspire people to act. Then, they might influence others to act as well, creating a critical force multiplier. I spoke to my audience about advocacy methodology, messaging, and tools, and the absolute need for collaboration, working with and through others. I reminded my audience, though, that advocacy differs with the context and the organization. At the NTSB, for example, it’s the one way we can bring about change and encourage implementation of our recommendations. However, I urged safety leaders in Africa to be mindful that all advocacy is local. What might work in the United States might not necessarily work for all of Africa.
Ultimately, wherever it is done, advocacy done right moves the needle toward saving lives. As transportation safety leaders, I told my audience, we must communicate our work to gain the desired impact and outcomes. We must be proactive and go to our audience, not sit back waiting for them to come to us.
It was an honor addressing these passionate transportation safety leaders from the African region. We should always remember that our transportation safety work crosses air, land, and sea. When we share our lessons learned and best practices, and when others share theirs with us, we may save lives not just nationally, but globally, as well.
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