Aviation should be the key driver of Africa's economic growth, but that cannot happen unless the continent meets global safety standards, said International Air Transport Association CEO Tony Tyler, former chief executive of Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways.
The African accident rate is nine times higher than the global average, he said. "The most pressing problem for African aviation today is safety. It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world," Mr Tyler said in a statement.
The Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan, also sanctioned by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation, calls for all African carriers to complete IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) by 2015.
Mr Tyler said the audit is integral to aviation development in Africa since the accident rate of IOSA-registered African airlines in 2011 was nearly equivalent to the global average.
"That tells us that applying global standards to African aviation will yield results. And the most effective way to increase the adoption of IOSA in Africa is for governments to mandate participation for all airlines," he said.
African countries should also establish independent African civil aviation authorities and implementation flight data analysis and safety management systems.
IATA and ICAO also encourage African officials to employ "transparent" safety oversight systems and accident-prevention measures focused on runway safety and loss of control.