UIC, its African region – chaired by Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, CEO of Moroccan Railways (ONCF) – and ONCF itself, have announced their support for the “Africa Express” mission, which will take the shape of a tour of Africa by train, starting in Tangier.
The aim of this 20,000 km train journey is to study renewable energy projects in the countries visited. 2012 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the “Africa Express” initiative is backed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The aim of this mission is to highlight initiatives in the field of energy, to identify their key success factors, replicability and durability, and to attract national and international investors to implement and reproduce these projects. A White Paper will be released at the end of the mission to promote good practice and target energy stakeholders in Africa (international donors, governments, NGOs, companies and national electric power companies, etc.). A film targeting the general public will also show the main issues and aspects of the mission.
The “Africa Express” mission is sponsored by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who said “we need community initiatives that respect our future and our environment. I am fully supportive of the “Africa Express” mission as it is a project that corresponds perfectly to this need.”
“Africa Express” is bolstered by a Support Committee composed of a number of personalities involved in energy and the environment, energy experts, and representatives of institutions, NGOs and companies. Among these partners, reference should be made to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), the French Development Agency (AFD), Schneider Electric, EDF, Electriciens sans Frontières, GoodPlanet, Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux “welcomes the fact that the train – as the sustainable mode of transport par excellence – has been chosen as the medium for this tour of Africa dedicated to renewable energy projects.” He reiterated that “the aims of the “Africa Express” mission are mutually supportive of those of the international railway community, which are to develop transport that is sustainable, environmentally-friendly and energy efficient, contributing to the economic and social development of the regions through which the train will pass. It is in fact the aim of the UIC African region to coordinate the efforts of all the players, with a view to developing a system such as this to serve the African continent.”