As part of the work of the UIC African Region, chaired by Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Chief Executive of Moroccan National Railways, a series of events and meetings of prime regional significance for Africa took place in Tunis from 5 – 6 June 2012.
Firstly, in collaboration with Tunisian National Railways (SNCFT) a seminar was held on “Railway safety and human factors”, which was attended by 120 senior managers from 10 African countries. The full and fruitful discussions pinpointed three avenues whereby safety management systems can be significantly improved: the need to take account of environmental aspects, the need for a forum via which experience and good practice can be shared, and the need to draw on human and social sciences approaches in order to better manage safety.
In addition to and alongside this seminar, the UIC African Region’s Executive Board also met. On its agenda were a review of achievements during the first half of 2012 and a look forward to upcoming activities during the rest of this year. Besides the aforementioned seminar, these include, in brief:
- Preparations for the third Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC), to be held from 17 - 19 October 2012 in Tangier (Morocco);
- A training session on the fundamentals of railway safety, to be held in November 2012 at the Railway Training Centre in Rabat (Morocco);
- The launch of the “Africa Express” initiative on 25 April 2012 in Morocco and the associated press conference held in Rabat. Departing from Tangier (Morocco), the purpose of “Africa Express” is to showcase and examine energy-related projects during the train’s eight-month, 20,000 km journey across 23 African countries;
- Strengthening bilateral cooperation via various information and liaison meetings between African railways.
In addition, the Executive Board validated the development strategy for African railways between now and 2025, which was presented by the Technical Committee, and the proposed means of implementing it. This road-map will be presented to the ninth Regional Assembly.