Civil aviation security: Cameroon above the regional and world average

Published: Thursday, 02 May 2024 18:18
This is the substance of the results of the audit conducted in October 2023 by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Cameroon's security supervision system, published recently by Transport Minister Jean Ernest Masséna NGALLE BIBEHE.

The main entrance on the landside of Yaoundé-Nsimalen International Airport

This score is the fruit of unprecedented efforts and works carried out over the last 07 years by the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) and all the partner administrations (Governors, Prefects, Police, Gendarmerie, Information and intelligence Services, etc), supported by the services of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) for the operational aspects, all under the supervision of the Minister of Transport.
Our system now has lasting pillars. Firstly, we have solid legislation and regulations, particularly in defining the roles of the various players through the National Civil Aviation Security Programme, approved and made enforceable by the Head of State. This earned us a score of 100% on this aspect during this audit.
Secondly, thanks to the collaboration instructed by the Head of State with the Special Units of our Defence Forces, the CCAA has set up canine units, X-ray scanners, metal and explosives detection equipment, and surveillance and access control equipment, all of the latest generation. Through the World Bank, the Government has also mobilised funds for the CCAA to rehabilitate equipment and infrastructure such as fences and patrol roads and build Emergency Operations Centres in Yaoundé, Douala, Garoua and Maroua.

Video surveillance room at an airport in Cameroon
Finally, the Aviation Authority has selected and trained an abundant human resource of more than 500 young Cameroonians, trained and educated in civil aviation security through the Aviation Authority Training School. This is another fundamental aspect on which Cameroon was 100% successful. These paramilitary supervision professionals, make up the operational security units, deployed to date at our 04 international airports, with the short-term prospect of deployment at all domestic airports open to commercial air traffic.
As a reminder, during the audit, the aim was to assess, on the one hand, our country's capacity to ensure adequate national supervision of its surveillance activities and, on the other hand, to verify the level of compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices at the two international airports of Douala and Yaoundé-Nsimalen, the daily gateways for international flights. Cameroon's security legislation and regulations, the organisation of the National Competent Authority, staff qualifications and training, provision of technical guidance, practices and procedures, operator certification, quality control activities and the effective resolution of security issues were all assessed. Then the compliance of our airport infrastructure and equipment, such as security fencing, patrol routes, explosives detection equipment, video surveillance, access control and emergency operations centres, was checked.  Finally, ICAO auditors observed the agents in charge of applying security measures.

The CCAA Training School, a symbol of growth for the civil aviation sector in Cameroon

The scores obtained, namely 79% for the sustainability indicator (8 crucial elements of the civil aviation security supervision system) and 77.11% for the compliance indicator (rate of compliance with security and facilitation standards at Douala and Yaoundé international airports) are higher than the regional and world averages, which not only reassures the ICAO and the twenty or so airlines currently serving Cameroon, but also gives Cameroon a good image. These positive results are also an encouraging signal for the most demanding airlines. 
With this foundation firmly in place, the CCAA will continue to work with other stakeholders to correct remaining non-conformities and improve other aspects of the civil aviation system.
Now that the State of Cameroon has established all the fundamentals, we must stay the course collectively. All players in the sector, as well as all users,are therefore urged to continue to comply scrupulously with everything prescribed by the Aviation Authority, which is responsible for coordinating the implementation of security measures.