African Integrated High-Speed Rail Network Project is a flagship project of the 2063 African Union agenda.
The planned network will connect the 16 landlocked countries in Africa to major seaports and neighbouring countries. It will establish interoperability of railways across different regions, create East-West/North-South land-bridges and interconnect African capitals. This will be the interconnection of major commercial and economic hubs to boost economic growth and intra-African free trade, as well as complement the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The second webinar that took place on 26 August, moderated by Louis Napo and Olawale Rasheed, NEPAD, provided an opportunity to discuss and proffer actionable plans for advocacy and financing of the project.
François Davenne, UIC Director General, the keynote speaker of the webinar, emphasised the importance of the project. He underlined the cooperation between UIC, AU and NEPAD though the MoU and meetings with AU representatives as well as with the NEPAD Executive Secretary Dr Mayaki in Johannesburg. He further mentioned that collaboration opens possibilities to strengthen and enhance all partners, creating opportunities for collaboration and growth.
UIC is actively working in the areas of standardisation, telecommunications, ticketing and other domains. Among other areas, UIC plays an important role in the definition and design of standards and technical specifications worldwide and in particular for African railway networks to ensure real connectivity and interoperability.
A team of UIC international experts from China, SNCF, DB, Renfe and other UIC-member networks are ready to collaborate on the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network Project and develop professionalism in the railway sector through training.
Further presentations were delivered by the representatives of AfDB (African Development Bank) who underlined the support of AfDB for the project; the African Union who talked about the importance of the Free Trade Area in Africa; Thelo DB that brings capacity to the African Railway sector, supporting development of new railway corridors and enhancing operational efficiencies of existing networks, EDR (Ehtio-Djibouti Railways) who explained the work of the company and importance of AIHSRN for the region, UNECA (United nation Economic Commission for Africa) on railway rolling stock financing; CPCS on Definition of a trans African Highway Network as well as its norms and standards, Joster Imbuchi who reported on the previous webinar and its conclusions and many others.