The West African Economic and Monetary Union (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine, UEMOA, in French) includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. It represents therefore a geographically and demographically significant share of the African market.
On 30 November 2009, the EU and UEMOA signed a Horizontal Agreement which brings in line with EU law the bilateral air services agreements between the Member States of UEMOA and EU. The Agreement entered into force on 21 February 2011. It allows any EU airline to operate flights between UEMOA countries and any EU Member State where it is established and where a bilateral agreement with UEMOA countries exists and traffic rights are available. This is a major step change from the traditional set-up of aviation based on nationality restrictions and complements the EU's internal aviation market on the external side.
The agreement is a first Horizontal Agreement with another regional organisation. It constitutes an important step towards further strengthening the EU-Africa aviation relations and will foster cooperation in the aviation area between the EU and UEMOA on a number of important aspects, such as aviation safety and security.