African aviation deserves greater attention from the FAA

africa safe skies
Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

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

“… led a delegation of 14 U.S. companies on a multi-sector trade mission to sub-Saharan Africa.

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.”

[emphasis added]

Africa would appear to be a worthy target of opportunity (below table shows great growth) and of need:

OECD Africa growth analysis

More on the opportunities found in Africa:

Five Well-Established Points Support Positive US International Aviation Assistance

Ambassador Godec, Director Fitts & Sec. Foxx, Kenya Asks For Aviation Help

ICAO’s Infrastructure Forum In Africa Points To The US’ Focus On Aviation On That Continent

Exciting Opportunities/Challenges In Africa—Add To FAA’s Strategic Priorities

ICAO, EU and China have major presences in this fertile aviation territory:

ICAO’s Infrastructure Forum In Africa Points To The US’ Focus On Aviation On That Continent

The EU Is Investing In Africa ATC Upgrade

EASA Announces A Major Presence In South Asia; FAA Assistant Administrator Should Respond With An FAA International Strategic Plan

China has taken a different route to involvement in African aviation

China is training Africa’s next generation of aviation and …

For undiscernible reasons, the FAA cancelled a very positive and promising program focused on this continent’s needs:

NTSB Outreach, ‘SAFE SKIES FOR AFRICA’ ,A Continent On Which The US Should Be

African Aviation Safety Is UP, But Is The US There?

US’ Bad Withdrawal From Safe Skies For Africa

The US Leaves An Aviation Safety Void In Africa And Flight Safety Foundation & AviAssist Foundation Enter

The FAA Policy and International office has expressed some interest in Africa, but it is nascent at best:

APL Africa policy


Africa is in need of help for its aviation growth; others are there already; SHOULDN’T THE FAA DO MORE?

africa aviation map


NTSB advocacy header

NTSB Nicholas Worrell, Chief, Office of Safety Advocacy




By Nicholas Worrell, Chief, NTSB Safety Advocacy Division

In August, 2019, I wrote thaSafe Skies for Africa was ending, but that the safety journey would go on in Africa, the world’s second2018 Jones at Safe Skies-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.

2022 Africa conferenceEnter Advocacy.

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.

africa aviation map and global growth chart


Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

1 Comment on "African aviation deserves greater attention from the FAA"

  1. News today–African airlines sustain high passenger growth as more states end covid curbs

Leave a comment