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Ethiopian seasoned aviation expert shortlisted for AFCAC’s helm
Tefera Mekonnen, Air Transport Director at AFCAC

Ethiopian seasoned aviation expert shortlisted for AFCAC’s helm

A seasoned Ethiopian aviation expert and former director general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), Tefera Mekonnen, has been shortlisted for the position of secretary general at the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), an African Union specialized agency in the field of aviation.

AFCAC was created by the Constitutional Conference convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1964. Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, AFCAC was fully established and began functioning in 1969 and on May 11, 1978 became an OAU specialized agency in the field of civil aviation.

Currently, AFCAC is finalising the recruitment process to replace former secretary general, Iyabo Sosina (PhD), a Nigerian aviation personality, who led the commission since 2012.

On November14, President of AFCAC Hany Yehia (Eng.) notified Tefera Mekonnen that he was shortlisted and invited him to present himself during the 29th plenary session of AFCAC scheduled to take place on December 3, 2018 in Livingston, Zambia.     

Tefera Mekonnen, who has a 37 years expertise in the aviation sector, joined AFCAC as transport director in October 2015. Prior to that Tefera served ICAO’s project office in Nairobi that managed Somalia’s air space. He was permanent representative of Ethiopia to ICAO in Montreal, Canada for eight years between 2006 and 2014.

Tefera, who served the ECAA since 1980 under various capacities, was director general of the authority from 2002-2005. He was also head of the ECAA training center and director of planning and programming for air transport.

Tefera studied Economics at Addis Ababa University and was also trained as an Air Traffic Controller at the ECAA Training Center. He holds diplomas in air transport economics and Air Traffic Control Services.

He is presently the Director of Air Transport at AFCAC in Dakar, Senegal, which is primarily responsible for African air transport liberalization under the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD), sustainable development of air transport, and aviation security and environment.

AFCAC has received applications from 15 senior African aviation personalities who are interested in filling the shoe of Iyabo Sosina who recently retired. The screening has been conducted by an independent consultant hired by the AU. The Reporter learnt that Tefera Mekonnen is among the four candidates shortlisted for the post. The other candidates are represented from Burkina Faso, Chad and Zambia.

It was noted that the extra ordinary plenary session of AFCAC scheduled to take place on December3 in Livingston will appoint a new secretary general among the four shortlisted candidates.  Tefera Mekonnen was endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transport and ECAA. Ethiopian Airlines Group has also been supporting Tefera.

Wossenyeleh Hunegnaw (Col.), director general of ECAA, told The Reporter that Tefera has a rich experience in the aviation sector and played a key role in drafting the African civil aviation policy. “He is a competent aviation professional who is fit for the job. If he is elected I believe that with his wealth of experience he can truly serve the continent’s aviation sector,” Wossenyeleh said.

Sources told The Reporter that an Ethiopian delegation led by a veteran diplomat, Ambassador Mohamoud Drir, will accompany Tefera to Livingston to ensure that the candidate is properly considered.   

Envisioned with fostering a safe, secure, efficient, cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly aviation sector, AFCAC is working towards the development air transport sector in Africa.

AFCAC is the executive agency of the African Single Air Transport Market (SAATM) which was launched by the AU in January 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tefera made a presentation on the realization of SAATM at the 50th annual general assembly of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) held from November, 27-28 in Rabat, Morocco.