Jean-Jacques Cornish

African ministers discuss opening their skies

Transport ministers from a dozen African countries gathered outside Pretoria yesterday to discuss opening the continent’s skies.


The result of their deliberations will be presented to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa next week.


It’s been 12 years since African leaders signed the Yamoussoukro agreement on liberalising air transport over the continent.

The AU Commission headed Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is prioritising this as part of the continental body’s Agenda 2063.

The ministers meeting in South Africa represent African countries with flagship carriers or air traffic hubs.

Their hostess, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters says South Africa identifies air transport as a major instrument fighting the triple evils of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

Africa is becoming the third fastest growing market for air transport yet continental regulations governing aviation lag behind the rest of world.

She says African countries  must forge aviation links with each other before looking further afield adding that Africans have traditionally found the quickest way of getting to each other,

Why then are Africans forced to travel to Europe before they can reach  Tunisia and other parts of their own concontinentcontinent.

She says liberalisation  between Africa’s 12 countries with airlines will provide an extra 155 000 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual GDP.

It will give seats to five million passengers currently denied these by restrictive practices.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.