A delegation of the International Union of Railways (UIC) composed of Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General, and Mr. Jean-Pierre Lehman, Director of Legal and Social Relations and UIC Coordinator for the African Region, visited the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia, from 18 to 19 March 2010, and held discussions with H.E. Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, on strengthening cooperation in railway transport development within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the AUC and UIC in April 2007.
At the meeting the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy was accompanied by officials of the Union of African Railways (UAR) including Mr. Naffati Elghul, the Secretary General, and Ms. Cleopatra Shiceka, General Counsel, as well as senior staff of the AUC Department of Infrastructure and Energy: Mr.David Kajange, Head of Transport and Tourism Division and Dr. Maurice Niaty-Mouamba, Infrastructure and Transport Consultant.
AUC and UIC discussed key issues relating to their cooperation focusing on the following items:
- Presentation of UIC structure, missions and activities, with a view to raising the number of UIC sponsored projects in Africa,
- Africa’s railway agenda. The presentation referred to a series of important Declarations and Recommendations which set out the policy and strategic framework for future railways developments. The presentation underscored the focus of the AUC in promoting and facilitating railway transport development within an integrated transport system on the African continent based on model suitability and complementarity,
- The Vision 2025 for Railway Development in Africa. In this context, AUC expressed gratitude to UIC for the elaboration of the ‘Vision 2025 for Railway Development in Africa’ as a key policy in defining the long-term policy strategic framework for the development of rail transport in Africa,
- The AUC / UIC Memorandum of Understanding. The two parties agreed to strengthen the cooperation on the basis of the 2007 AUC / UIC MoU. To that end, it was agreed that the Union of African Railways UAR, as the specialised technical agency of the AU in railway matters, would have a key role in the implementation of specific projects in cooperation with UIC,
- UAR / UIC cooperation. A proposal was made for the UAR to acquire membership status of UIC in order to strengthen Africa’s participation in support of smaller African railways. UIC agreed to engage the process that would see UAR becoming a UIC member alongside some major African national members.
The UIC Director General expressed gratitude to Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim and her staff for the warm welcome in Addis-Abeba as well as for the productive meetings which enabled to achieve the main goals. He reiterated UIC’s commitment in providing the necessary technical support to the African Union Commission and its technical arm, the Union of African Railways UAR, in their endeavour to strengthen railway support in Africa.