Given the current situation of African rail networks and the desire and ambition displayed at high levels to revitalise or even develop this vital sector so that it can contribute effectively to inclusive growth and the integration of the continent, African transport Ministers have made various commitments and declarations.
The declarations include those adopted in Brazzaville in 2006; Algiers in 2008 and Malabo in 2014, through which they undertook to support and strengthen the African Railways Union to enable it to play its full role, as well as to adopt Vision 2040 for rail revitalisation in Africa, placing it at the heart of the programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
The call was made to provide Africa with a “reliable, sustainable, high-performance, environmentally friendly, affordable rail system by 2040 that can, along with other modes of transport, promote the socio-economic development of and regional integration while contributing to a better global position for the continent.
Since then, the Africa Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency have undertaken several initiatives towards achieving these commitments.
It is in this context that African Union with the Technical support of NEPAD Agency held its first meeting on the revitalisation of the continent’s railways, at African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 24 to 27 September 2018. On the agenda was the restoration of the African Union of Railways; the implementation of Vision 2040 on the revitalisation of railways in Africa; an update on the progress of the Continental High Speed Train, and; the action plan for the implementation of rail revitalisation in Africa.
Leader of the NEPAD delegation to Addis Ababa, Mr Louis Napo, NEPAD Agency’s Advisor on the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network, presented the progress report on the continental High-Speed Railway Network. The next step in the continental project will entail conducting a feasibility study, for which a consultant has been selected, following the tender bidding process.
Members of the Committee examined the different aspects related to the problem of African Union of Railways and decided on a roadmap to finalise the appropriate plan for the revitalisation of the entity, which will be submitted for approval of the conference of Transport Ministers scheduled for July 2019.