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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Dakar, Senegal)
For Immediate Release                                      April 1, 1998


Safe Skies for Africa Initiatives

The President announced today a "Safe Skies for Africa" initiative. The goals of this $1.2 million program -- funded by the Departments of State and Transportation -- are to:

(1) increase the number of sub-Saharan African countries that meet

ICAO standards for aviation safety;

(2) improve security at 8-12 airports in the region within 3 years;

(3) improve regional air navigation services in Africa by using

        modern satellite-based navigation aids and modern 
        communications technology.

The initiative will focus on conducting safety assessments and security surveys in select countries, and formulate action plans together with Africa civil aviation authorities to bring aviation safety and security practices in Africa up to accepted world standards. In the first year, the Department of Transportation will hold four regional conferences with African civil aviation representatives to discuss with them their airports needs and how best the U.S. can assist. These conferences will build on those held last October in Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and will then be followed by security surveys and safety assessments.

Transportation Secretary Slater will visit Africa in the near future to begin swift implementation of this initiative.

Safe air travel and secure airports are necessary for increasing trade, attracting investment, expanding tourism, and developing a more modern society. Nearly half of all world commerce is conducted by air.

"Safe Skies for Africa" is a cornerstone for a larger Africa transportation initiative that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently launched in support of the Administration's Africa Initiative announced by President Clinton in June 1997. DOT's transportation initiative highlights how essential transportation is to any economy -- large or small, developed or developing.

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