Thursday 8 October 2020

African Railway Thursdays - 1st Digital Webinar – 1st October 2020

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UIC African Region has launched a new initiative - African Railway Thursday webinars.

The webinars will be held every two months and will be devoted to UIC activities and projects which are of significance to the African region and networks.

The first webinar entitled “The Rise of Digitalisation in Rail Transport: Overview of experiences” took place on Thursday 1st October 2020.

It united over 100 participants from different countries across the African continent representing African Railway networks, regulatory authorities and regional institutions, and was moderated by Thierry Béra, UIC CFO & African Region Coordinator.

In the opening session, Mohamed Rabie Khlie, President of the UIC African Region and ONCF DG, underlined the importance of this initiative and the added value of the new tools allowing such interaction for the region, re-dynamisation of the exchanges on vital subjects and rationalisation from an economic and financial perspective. He went on to highlight the importance of digitalisation for Railways.

François Davenne, UIC DG, noted the re-dynamisation and vitality of African Region activities focusing on three areas:

  • Readiness to intensify relations with institutions, in particular with the African Union, in order to develop railways on the continent;
  • Reminder of the UIC Added Value: standardisation, technical expertise and training;
  • Collaboration around the new normal which opens up new opportunities for railways to build stronger regional activities while structuring concrete projects, mainly freight corridors, telecommunications, ticketing, modalisation and standardisation.

UIC is looking forward to bringing new UIC members into the UIC African region, especially English-speaking ones.

Cheick Bedda, Director of the Infrastructure and Energy Commission of the African Union, thanked UIC for its engagement with the African Railways, which is important for African integration. He noted the significance of HS projects for the region and agenda 2063, which includes the revitalisation of African Railways. He noted that AU undertook various works including work on norms and standards, digital strategy and many others. He strongly supported the main axes of African Region activities presented by François Davenne, and underlined the willingness of AU to work with UIC. He further congratulated UIC and the African Region on its activities.

The key speaker of the webinar, Francis Bedel, UIC Chief Digital Officer, presented UIC’s digital programme including the 1st UIC African Rail Digital Conference that took place in 2019 in Cape Town, and DIGIM II, Connected Level Crossing together with Dassault Systems.

Further presentations included African Development Bank, AUDA-NEPAD who reaffirmed its commitment to digitalisation and joint work with the UIC, SNCF on the new generation simulator and Korail on Train Safe Driving System & Management Information System. African Network presentations were made by the UIC regional office in Rabat on digital maturity in Africa, EDR on railway network digitalisation plan, SNCFT on deployed applications and preparations for the 2nd African Rail Digital Conference in 2021, SNTF on deployment of the FRMCS project lead by UIC, SETRAG on Safety and Fluidity of Traffic and ONCF on open innovations and new technologies.

For more information about the event and presentations, and to view the Digital Webinar in replay, please go to page

The 2nd Webinar will take place on 26 November and will focus on Standardisation.

For more information about the African Railway Thursday webinars, please contact Maria Lafont,

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