Information published on 17 September 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 364.

Meeting UIC Africa–African Union: to revitalise cooperation for rail services in Africa

  • Africa

In accordance with the decisions taken at the 9th Regional Assembly of the UIC – African Region, Mr Mokhtar Essadok, Head of the Regional Office in Tunis, was tasked by the Chairman of UIC Africa, Mr Mohammed Rabie Khlie (Chief Executive of Moroccan National Railways – ONCF) and the Director General of UIC, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, to visit the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission (AUC).

This coordination meeting, which is part of a series of meetings planned under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties in 2007 and confirmed in the aide-memoire of 2009, was attended by S.E Dr Ilham M.A. Ibrahim, Member of the Commission responsible for Infrastructure and Energy, Mr Aboubakari Baba-Moussa, Director of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr David Kajange, Head of the Division for Transport and Tourism and Dr Maurice Niaty-Mouamba, Consultant on Infrastructure and Transport.

The discussions between the two parties mainly focused on “Vision 2025”, the prospective study recently carried out by the UIC African Region, PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa) and its rail transport component, as well on the current situation of the African Union of Railways, and defining a joint roadmap to create more synergy between the two bodies to further prosperity across the African continent.

At this important meeting where extensive and productive talks were held, the two parties concluded that the “Vision 2025” study advocates the accelerated development of railways in Africa. The document stresses rail’s integrated nature with other modes of transport and aims to give Africa a credible rail transport system which is able to serve all regions across the continent. Furthermore, the study is mirrored in the various projects and programmes outlined in PIDA, and will almost certainly contribute to the very long-term Vision of the Strategic Plan currently being developed by the African Union.

For all these issues, it was agreed that renewing the railways should be the subject of a special address during the next session of the 3rd Conference of African Ministers in charge of Transport to be held in November 2013 in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea). The conference should focus on the levels of awareness in Member States and the return to integrated management in strategies and programmes.

As such, and in order to ensure that this study on African railway development is properly taken onboard and that suitable preparations are made for the aforementioned conference, the two parties agreed to meet again in the shape of two working groups (on 15 and 16 October 2013 in Tunis) with all stakeholders: Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Development Bank (ADB)…

Moreover, this meeting served as an occasion to share projects that are part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), adopted by the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in January 2012. The programme contains an ambitious project to revitalise rail transport in Africa which is likely to result in the African rail network increasing by 30,000 km by 2040. Most of the 24 transport projects are focusing on the need to maintain the intermodality deemed necessary for the efficiency and expected levels of performance of the transport sector.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the two parties welcomed the opportunity to strengthen their cooperation by building on the provisions of the MoU, which was set by mutual agreement and which has governed their relations since 2007. With regard to the issues raised, they adopted a roadmap to give fresh impetus to their partnership, thus helping to accelerate the implementation of actions needed to achieve the anchor projects outlined in the various studies and programmes: PIDA, Vision 2025…

For further information please contact Jerzy Wisniewski, Coordinator of the UIC African Region: wisniewski@uic.org