The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the global representative body for the airline industry, “is still very focused on Africa”, assured IATA regional VP Africa and Middle East Kamil Alawadhi in a virtual media briefing on Thursday. He highlighted IATA’s Focus Africa initiative, which has six priority areas – in IATA’s order, safety, aviation infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, environmental sustainability, and the development of future skills. Safety ranked first and was a big priority for Focus Africa. “Unfortunately, Africa remains the worst [region] when it comes to safety,” he pointed out. The accident rate per million sectors flown this year had been 8.87, as against the global average of 0.82. Both figures were improvements over 2022, when the accident rate for Africa had been 10.88, and for the world, 1.33. The average accident rate for Africa over the period 2018 to 2022 had been 6.25, while the global average had been (again) 1.33.