Aerospace faculty delivers Samia fifth ‘honoris causa’

By Salome Kitomari , The Guardian
Published at 11:19 AM Jun 04 2024
President Samia Suluhu Hassan delivers an address at the Korea Aerospace University shortly after being conferred the university’s Honorary Doctorate in the aviation sector in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, yesterday.

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan’s major investment and contributions to the aviation sector in the country along with her firm leadership in several other areas has made the Korean Aerospace University (KAU) confer her with an honorary doctorate degree.

The award explained as due to noble causes ‘honoris causa,’ the fifth such award after receiving others from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) of India and Ankara University of Turkey.

KAU also awarded President Samia due to her firm efforts to push the country’s development through her 4Rs self-crafted philosophy of reconciliation, resilience, reform and rebuild that promotes socio-economic prosperity and multiparty democracy. 

In the award ceremony, KAU president Hee Young Hurr lauded President Samia’s exceptional dedication and influence, particularly in the aviation sector, including airport infrastructure development.

He said the visiting leader was the only female president in Africa and the first in Tanzania, and who has brought a number of socio-economic changes in a short period.

Through the 4Rs, President Samia has brought the nation together promoting social welfare while being a firm leader in climate change and clean cooking energy in Africa, he stated.

He referred to engaging in an international film, ‘The Royal Tour,’ a documentary which has greatly helped improve the tourism sector, alongside investing in improving infrastructure in various airports, plus building the new international airport at Msalato in the capital.

Another area is construction of modern systems and uplifting aviation sector workforce to attract more arrivals and cargo freight, thus attaining 14 passenger aircrafts and one cargo plane, facilitating a surge in local and international air travel.

Tanzania has also succeeded in increasing the number of pilots, engineers and workers in the aviation sector, something which has stimulated development of other sectors such as transportation, hotel and service, he pointed out.

President Samia, in her acceptance remarks, highlighted the promising future and vast potential of Tanzania’s aviation industry, characterising the award as going beyond her personal efforts to the foundations laid by the late President John Magufuli who worked hard to revive the sector, to promote development.

She appealed for KAU links with local air transport agencies at a technical and administrative level for exchange programmes, to train more competent technical cadre in the sector.

Tanzania now links with 38 airports globally, a huge change on the way to connecting with more destinations, despite that some challenges thwart the progress.

Some of the challenges include shortage of competent, certified pilots and engineers to work in the sector, she said, affirming that Tanzania’s aviation sector between 2021 and 2023 saw passengers increase by 28 percent and number of international flights rising from 26 to 33.

Air Tanzania's domestic market share reached 53 percent in the past year, from 2.4 percent earlier, while passenger volumes rose by 42 percent, from 4.8m in 2015 to 6.8m last year.

“The sector's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has improved from 0.9 percent in 2018 to 2.55 percent in 2023,” she stated, asserting that the revival of Air Tanzania Co. Ltd (ATCL) enabled its revenues to reach 280.4bn/- during fiscal 2022/23 from 23bn/- for fiscal  2016/17.

The president will attend the first Korea-Africa Summit that will seek to address pressing global issues such as climate change, food security and supply chain stability.

Two-day event gathered delegates from 48 African countries including 25 Heads of State, also setting the final engagement in the six day visit, officials said.