Update on Africa’s Integrated High Speed Railway Network Project

Update on Africa’s Integrated High Speed Railway Network Project

In December 2018, AUDA–NEPAD engaged the services of a consultant for Africa’s Integrated High Speed Railway Network Project. The first experts’ meeting to review the outputs of consultancy was held from the 10 -12 April 2019. The objective of the experts meeting was to review and agree to on the results and outcomes of the Project Preparation Framework analysis, to be piloted during the first 10-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

Hon. Raila Odinga – High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa with Mr Adama Deen , AUDA-NEPAD Senior Advisor on Strategic Infrastructure

Mr Adama Deen, AUDA-NEPAD Senior Advisor on Strategic Infrastructure stressed that the Africa Integrated High Speed Railway Network one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, the blue print for continental development.

Following the engagement of the consultant for the project, the inception report and the prioritisation framework have since been developed. Therefore, it is at this meeting that experts interrogated the prioritisation framework and the multi criteria analysis to be used.

“We must invest in infrastructure but do so diligently and ensure there is value for money in every infrastructure investment we undertake,’’ Hon Raila Odinga, African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa informed the meeting participants.

Hon Odinga gave a presentation on what railways can do to the growth of countries and economies. He gave an example of the Kenya-Uganda railway, which cost £5m and was described as the Lunar Express. This railway was a major success to the economies of Kenya and Uganda, illustrating that in Africa, social and economic transformation cannot be attained without the development of railways.

Hon Odinga called on African leaders to make the hard decisions to develop and build its High Speed Rail for the benefit of the African people.

Mr Louis Napo Gnagbe, Project Advisor at AUDA-NEPAD welcomed all the initiatives related to promoting this major continental project.For intraregional trade to take place, Africa needs infrastructure such as railways to connect countries, projects such as the Trans-African beltway will open up the interior.

The meeting was attended by over 20 experts from around the continent. Its outcomes will be submitted to the forthcoming AU Specialised Technical Committee on Transcontinental Transport Infrastructure connectivity Experts Meeting and Ministerial Conference, slated between 14 and 18 April 2019 in Cairo, Egypt, for endorsement and adoption.

Alternative Investments in the African Infrastructure Space

Alternative Investments in the African Infrastructure Space

Both on and off the continent itself, Africa’s infrastructure gaps are seen as a huge investment opportunity. The AUDA-NEPAD session on ‘Scaling Risk Mitigation to enable Greater Pension Fund Investment in Africa’s Infrastructure: The African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism’ was organised as part of the 3rd African Pension Funds and Alternatives Investment Conference.

It was well attended by an audience mostly composed of industry players – private pension fund administrators, trustees, asset managers, government pension funds and development finance institutions. This grouping clearly demonstrates the interest to develop such initiatives to scale up greater investments in the African infrastructure space.

Ms Daphine Muzawazi, AUDA-NEPAD’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Regional Integration and Trade Division speaking on the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism

The session was moderated by Dr Morgan Pillay Senior Infrastructure Finance Expert from GIZ, who presented the objectives of the AUDA-NEPAD session. To objectives were; to gauge the appetite of institutional investors (pension funds) for the implementation of the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism and discuss its financial potential; and to make use of the Pension Fund conference platform to consult on what can make the concept a reality. This includes possible implementation strategies and concrete action steps towards scaling risk mitigation and an African Guarantee Scheme to enable the mobilisation of African pension fund investment for African infrastructure.

The session panel, with representatives from the AUDA-NEPAD, the African Development Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Trade and Development Bank gave its interpretation of the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism as instrument of risk mitigation. Industry players were requested to give their thoughts on how the development of such initiative could bring value in facilitating alternative investments in the African Infrastructure space.

Deliberations included working with development partners in the development of similar initiatives such as the African Development Bank and its co-guarantee platform with an emphasis on the infrastructure window for which component the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism strategy could be leading the mechanism. Maintaining dialogue with the pension funds on what type of transactions that can be structured using this mechanism was also highlighted as key.

A strong recommendation to have a comprehensive early stage guarantee that could cover development and construction risk was also made, as well as the need to understand what the challenges are, and strengthen existing mechanisms through African Union continental coverage. The need to work on building countries’ own institutional investors that are best suited to take up currency risks as opposed to relying solely on foreign investors was also brought to the fore.

Participants were also informed of the AUDA-NEPAD Institutional Investors Forum that will be taking place in Dakar, Senegal, later this year, at which a roadmap on implementing the concept will be tabled.

The first African Digital Rail Summit

The first African Digital Rail Summit

“Africa: The continent of the digital future for rail” was the theme of the first African Digital Rail Summit, organised in Cape Town, South Africa, from 25 to 27 February, convened by AUDA-NEPAD and the International Union of Railways (IUC).

The initiative is part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, of which the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network is one of the flagship projects.

This high-level meeting summit made it possible to develop the African vision of digital rail, as part of the vision of rail in Africa by 2040, defined in 2014 in Malabo.

The continent’s 90,000 km of railway lines are mainly inherited from colonisation. This network, which is too fragmented and focused on transporting raw materials to ports, still needs to be extended and interconnected in order to accelerate Africa’s economic integration. Its modernisation involves in particular the use of new digital technologies.

In a statement sent to the summit, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD said, “The African Integrated High Speed Railway Network is one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The modernisation and extension of rail networks will not be possible without new digital technologies, a key element of “intelligent” transport. These technologies will help us achieve a key pillar of our regional integration.”

Transport ministers from South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Niger are present in Cape Town, as well as the Director of the National Railways Office of Morocco. Also present are industrialists, economists, representatives of African sub-regional organisations, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, as well as experts in digital ecosystems.

In support of digitisation, Mr Adama Deen, AUDA-NEPAD Senior Advisor on Strategic Infrastructure said, “We strongly support digitalisation in rail via its various projects and vision. This is the way to respond to the need for development of mobility for both passengers and freight on the African continent.”

A roadmap will be drawn up, major projects identified and a strategy developed for the revitalisation of the African Union of Railways.

Interconnecting African capitals through High Speed Rail

Interconnecting African capitals through High Speed Rail

Following the signing of the High Speed Rail Detailed Scoping Study contract in December 2018 and the submission of the final Inception Report to AUDA-NEPAD, CPCS Consultants held a meeting with the AUDA-NEPAD team, to discuss the status of the high speed railway network consultancy project. During the meeting, the key milestones and way forward were mapped out.

The AUDA-NEPAD team with CPCS consultants

A key objective of the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network is the connectivity of Africa’s capital cities and megacities, including but not limited to, commercial hubs/economic zones and tourist destinations, among others.

This initiative is aimed at interconnecting African capitals with one another across the continent, using appropriate high speed rail technology and other complementary power, transboundary water, and information and communications technology broadband infrastructure and services.

The African Integrated High Speed Railway Network will complement the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa and enable the realisation of the African-wide frameworks such as: Boosting of Intra-African Trade; the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa, among others.

An initiative of the continent’s Agenda 2063, the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network will be developed with a phased approach, with the first phase (from 2013 to 2023) setting out an implementation plan got two regional high speed rail projects.

Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative progress

Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative progress

The Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) was adopted to accelerate regional infrastructure development that is enabled through the political championing of projects. The role of the champions is to bring visibility, unblock bottlenecks, co-ordinate resource mobilisation and ensure project implementation. Most of the PICI projects, if not all, have made tremendous progress since its inception.

The 8th Technical Task Team workshop for the PICI was held in Windhoek, Namibia from the 23 to 24 January. The workshop was co-hosted by the Government of Namibia (Ministry of Works and Transport) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

Namibia’s Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Willem Goeiemann gave a description of the Namibian International Logistics Hub PICI project. Through its Transport Master Plan, Namibia aims to establish a development framework and strategies to make the country the regional logistics centre. Namibia will structure this PICI project within the context of the PICI protocol and modalities.

Representing the AUDA-NEPAD CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, NEPAD Agency’s Head of Partnerships, Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade said that, “PICI technical workshops not only provide a platform for knowledge sharing with all of the respective experiences, but through the active participation of all focal points, they also aim to define an implementation strategy enabling our Heads of State and Government to be actively involved in the development of these projects.”

The Champions of infrastructure in PICI include:

  • H.E President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria for the Missing Link of the Trans-Sahara Highway, as well as the Optic Fibre from Algeria via Niger to Nigeria;
  • H.E President Macky Sall of Senegal for the Dakar-Ndjamena- Djibouti Road/Rail;
  • H.E Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria for the Nigeria– Algeria Gas Pipeline: Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline;
  • H.E President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo champions for the Kinshasa-Brazzaville Bridge Road/Rail;
  • H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda champions the Unblocking of Political Bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Fibre optic projects;
  • H.E President Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt champions the Establishment of a Navigational Line from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea via the River Nile Project (VICMED);
  • H.E President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for the North- South Corridor Road/Rail Project;
  • H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, of Kenya for the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET)
  • H.E President Hage Geingob, of Namibia champions the International Logistics Infrastructure Hub Projects

The Technical Task Team workshop provided a platform for effective brainstorming and round table discussions on the best and innovative solutions for infrastructure delivery for Africa ranging from infrastructure financing solutions, enabling environment, private public partnership delivery solutions based on international best practices.