NEPAD Agency participated in the Africa Rail 2018 Conference from 12-14 June. The event, dubbed Africa’s largest Rail Conference and Exhibition, brought together Railway Operators, end-users, Governments and Transport Industry stakeholders
Speaking post the conference, NEPAD Agency’s Advisor on the Continental High Speed Rail, Louis Napo Gnagbe highlighted that railway sector experts had during the conference, expressed interest in collaborating with the African Union and NEPAD Agency in the implementation of the High Speed Rail Project.
“Experts within the railway sector are excited about the work that the NEPAD Agency and AU is doing in integrating Africa through bridging the gap in spatial division between countries,” he said.
Africa Rail is an annual event, providing a meeting point for Africa’s railway sector and this year, over 28 African countries participated in the conference. The industry experts met to discuss issues on freight rail, best practices in the industry, financial engineering, regional integration, unlocking funding opportunities, infrastructure and development, as well as policy and regulation within the railway sector.
It was therefore both critical and beneficial for NEPAD Agency to participate in the event, particularly because the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme is responsible for the joint implementation with the African Union, of the High Speed Rail project.
The African Union and NEPAD Agency High Speed Rail project aims to connect Africa’s capital cities and megacities, including but not limited to, commercial hubs/economic zones, and tourist destinations, among others. The project is one of the 12 flagship projects of Agenda 2063 that forms the backbone of the continental strategy. It will be a facilitator for infrastructure provision on the continent, which will drive regional integration. It is based on the vision of connecting from “Cape to Cairo”.
Speaking during the conference, Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, remarked that the UNECA is committed to working jointly with the NEPAD Agency and AU towards efficient Rail transport connectivity in Africa.
Transport Ministers attended Africa Rail 2018 as well, adding to the positive and much needed political buy-in which encourages the accelerated implementation of projects aimed at developing Africa.