2nd African Rail Digital Congress hosted by UIC and SNCFT, as African Union of Railways (AUR), in Tunis on 17-20 October 2022, united about 100 participants representing railway networks from different countries of the continent.
After the 1st congress in Cape Town in 2019, UIC organized the event to exchange on new opportunities for train users and for rail operators.
The 2-day congress, opened by the UIC Director General Mr François Davenne, Mr Said Chandid, representing the Chairman of UIC Africa, Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, and Mr Taoufik Boufaied, CEO of SNCFT and President of AUR, allowed to prepare the roadmap that will place Africa to be at the front of the mobility of the 21st century and to provide the populations with the transport and mobility capacities they expect for “the Africa we want” within the Agenda 2063.
During 2 days, participants exchanged on the opportunities, the best practices, and also the key factors of success and the risks. Only companies that digitize will gain in efficiency, both operational and economic, maintaining that:
o In addition to the existence of a national strategy for digital, it is important to obtain the lifting of legal and regulatory brakes,
o It is also important to rely on academic work, to work closely with universities and engineering schools,
o It is necessary to animate a network of startups and incubators,
o It is very important to have a digital strategy specific to each railway company,
o As this is not enough, it is also necessary to have, within the company, a very strong involvement of the General Management, a commitment of all the company’s professions, a strong coordination, an adaptation of the business processes, an equipment of the company’s employees with digital tools, and an “open” culture to break the silos.
The congress ratified the Tunis Declaration on Digitalization in the Railway Sector noting that:
o The challenges related to mobility and climate call for massive investments in both infrastructure and rolling stock, which require a significant effort on behalf of the railway manufacturers in their tariffication policies,
o All these investments will have to be supported by the digital revolution underway, focusing on:
o Digital technical operations, infrastructure, freight and passenger transport, ticketing & HR,
o Supporting the migration towards the future railway mobile communication system
o Boosting digitalisation for maintenance, capacity, and train path management (Digital Capacity Management – DCM),
o Creating and sharing a Data Space for resilient and sustainable Mobility.
While being committed to contribute to the above actions, the signatories of this Declaration stress that political and financial support will be needed to achieve the identified goals.
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