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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Meaningless bilaterals

Transport Minister Lungwangwa at the recent signing of a largely meaningless "open skies" agreement :

“[Air services] encourage tourists, trade and understanding. Air services between Zambia and USA existed during the time of the national airline, with flights between Lusaka and New York, I look forward to a time that US airline such as Delta will be flying to Lusaka and help turn Lusaka into a regional hub..."
The bilateral is meaningless for two reasons. At the surface it is quite obvious that this is "open skies" only for American carriers into Zambia. It is not reciprocal that any Zambian carrier can fly across to any part of the USA. I would be surprised if that was the case given the strict safety and security issues facing Zambian airlines and airports. It is also meaningless at the philosophical level - it reinforces the attitude of development without development. Minister Lungwangwa  is banking on the Americans to turn Lusaka into a regional hub! The USA Ambassador hints at the same when he says " the open skies agreement helped to establish a conducive foundation to attract United States carriers to the Zambian market". What happened to Zambia forging its own strategy that would drive transformation in this area? Why rely on the Americans to do this for us?


  1. Agreed. We've sold our ground (mines) now we are in the process of selling our air.

    This idea of making Zambia (more specifically Lusaka) a regional air hub will never happen as long as fuel costs at least 50% more than in neighbouring countries.

    These MMD guys want to run before they can walk.

    Here is some free advice to stimulate real growth.

    Don't build roads, build railways
    Lower the cost of fuel
    Incentivise private investment in infrastructure building

  2. Turkish Airlines may fly to Zambia:


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