On 29 and 30 March the Technical Committee of the UIC African Region met in Paris under the chairmanship of Jean-Pierre Lehman, UIC Director, Coordinator of the UIC African Region. The meeting was also attended by Mr Saïd Chandid from Moroccan Railways (ONCF), Mr Mokhtar Essadok and Mrs Rym Benhayed from Tunisian Railways (SNCFT), and Mr Ouedrago, Director General of Burkina Faso Railways.
At the request of the African Regional Assembly, the main purpose of this committee was to update “Vision 2025” – a prospective document about Africa that is currently being prepared by UIC – before its release at the next UIC General Assembly scheduled for July in Philadelphia. This major study on the vision of rail in Africa until 2025 will lead to the development of a priority programme covering the next four years, with the aim of ensuring that African networks benefit from a wide range of concrete and targeted actions. These actions aim to improve day-to-day railway operations, in particular through the organisation of training sessions, courses and practical workshops, as well as technical seminars such as the one set to be held in Tunis from 5 – 6 June on driver stress and human factors, in collaboration with Tunisian Railways (SNCFT), (more information on this seminar in a next edition of UIC eNews).
As part of this Technical Committee, the representatives of African railways present at the meeting also received a visit from Claire Guibert and Jérémy Debreu, the young team leading the “Africa Express” project that comes as part of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. “Africa Express” is a train journey across the African continent starting from Paris, travelling to Tangier, down to Cape Town and up to Cairo, to study 20 green energy projects. During this meeting, the representatives of African railways appreciated the team’s vigour and enthusiasm, held discussions in a friendly and pleasant setting on this ambitious and constructive project for Africa, and gave the team their wholehearted support. UIC is a partner in this project and a press conference is scheduled to take place on 11 April at UIC HQ.