On 21 June 2019, the closing ceremony took place of the 7th edition of the rail safety training organised for thirty managers and staff from African rail networks and held at the Training Centre of the National Office of Railways of Morocco (ONCF) in Rabat between 10 and 21 June 2019. This event was attended by senior managers representing the rail networks of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia. Alongside their Moroccan colleagues, they participated in a rich and varied programme including theoretical courses supported by case studies led by Moroccan experts, special lectures and targeted technical visits to railway sites across the Moroccan rail network.
An on-the-spot evaluation showed a high level of satisfaction of nearly 92% among participants. This result was based on interviews and a questionnaire handed out to all participants and covering the various aspects of the training: logistics, organisation, teaching method, quality of trainers, goals achieved, etc.
This occasion featured a speech by the President, who stressed the importance of training and the creation of an African network of railway experts for the continued sharing of good practice and exchanges based on NICT and the UIC Africa platform set up for this purpose. Certificates of attendance were presented to the participants, as well as souvenirs of their participation in this exceptional event.
This training is part of the deployment of the International Union of Railways (UIC) – Africa Region Action Plan 2019, which stems from the new “Revitalisation of Rail in Africa: Destination 2040” strategy, agreed and supported by the African ministers for transport. This strategy places particular emphasis on “Training of human capital” through a series of actions relating to “Safety”, which is one of the essential assets of the rail mode and a key element in its competitiveness and durability for the sustainable transport of goods and services and for economic inclusion within the African continent.
Furthermore, the UIC Africa Region is continuously coming up with new initiatives for sharing experience and knowledge between African networks, to reinvigorate and give new impetus to South-South cooperation in the various railway fields. Over the last five years, the results of this cooperation have included:
- The organisation of 14 conferences/seminars on current targeted topics, involving 170 experts and attended by around 2,000 African managers and decision-makers
- The delivery of 10 training cycles, focusing on rail safety and security, as well as track maintenance, for around 240 participants led by 120 ONCF experts
- The organisation of around 30 visits to provide information and share good practice with a variety of African delegations
- The preparation of two prospective studies
The aim of these kinds of concrete action is to support the African rail networks in their upgrading and development processes and hence to contribute to the establishment of a viable and reliable rail transport system.