Cape Town Air Access celebrates increased intra Africa network: Deepening economic integration between the Western Cape and the African continent
As a major driver of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) mandate, Cape Town Air Access (powered by Wesgro) is proud to announce that since inception in 2015, a total of six African carriers have been added to Cape Town and the Western Cape's international network, connecting the province to 11 countries and 15 destinations across Africa.
With May celebrated as Africa Month, the theme for this year is 'Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA)'. AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, aimed at creating a single African market for goods and services facilitated by free movement persons, capital, investment to deepen economic integration, promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality, industrialization, agricultural development, food security, and structural transformation.
Forming the focal point for proactive air route development in Cape Town and the Western Cape, the Cape Town Air Access initiative recently welcomed two new connections from Southern Africa into Cape Town, namely, Eswatini Air, which is scheduled to operate a direct flight between the Kingdom of Eswatini and Cape Town, with 3 frequencies per week, starting on the 2nd of June 2023. The second connection is Proflight Zambia, which commences its direct flight from Cape Town's largest unserved market in Southern Africa - Lusaka, Zambia - from the 1st of July 2023, with 2 flights per week.
In terms of passenger traffic on the continent, the two-way number of passengers between Cape Town and the rest of Africa grew by 80% year-on-year from 2021 to 2022. With Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana being the top three countries for two-way passengers in 2022, Lagos (Nigeria) and Lusaka (Zambia) were the top two unserved African destinations. In addition, the top five carriers by seat capacity, serving the African continent from Cape Town, were Ethiopian Airlines, Airlink, Kenya Airways, TAAG Angolan Airlines and RwandAir.
Shining the spotlight on the Western Cape’s trade with the world regions – in 2022, Africa was the Western Cape’s top export region, at a value of R59.9 billion, followed by Europe at R56.4 billion, and Asia at R40.7 billion. With Botswana being the leading African market for Western Cape exports, petroleum oils, other than crude was the Western Cape’s dominant export category to the rest of Africa with a total value of R9.95 billion. Coal placed second at a value of R4.03 billion, followed by apples, pears, and quinces at R2.3 billion.
Wesgro CEO and the Official Spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access, Wrenelle Stander, said: “Since 2015, the Cape Town Air Access initiative has produced excellent results when it comes to creating new routes and growing the number of people coming into the Western Cape. In doing so, the initiative has also played a significant role in developing trade relations and growing tourism in the destination as air connectivity is key to unlocking a country’s economic growth potential. With the addition of the direct Eswatini Air and Proflight Zambia services, the province will be connected to 15 destinations across sub-Sahara Africa by July 2023."
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, said: “More connections mean more tourists and more tourists mean more jobs for the residents of the Western Cape. Which is why I am so pleased that we have secured two more direct routes to Cape Town International Airport, especially since these new routes make it much easier to travel within Southern Africa. The benefits these two new routes to Eswatini and Lusaka, Zambia, go beyond tourism and may open up more opportunities for trade and investments too. The impressive work being done by the Western Cape’s official trade, investment and tourism promotion agency, Wesgro, is certainly making a meaningful impact on increasing economic growth and jobs creation in the province.”
“These figures signify our destination strength and the success of the City’s mission to connect with more source markets across the continent through the Air Access initiative, clever campaigns, and city-to-city agreements. In fact, I have just returned from a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where we signed a sister city agreement. My team and I will continue to work on such projects that ensure more travel and trade to Cape Town”, concluded Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth at the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos.