A Railway Advocacy Group , African Railway Roundtable has written the African Union Commission Chairperson , seeking action on the making of African Railway Policy to create a single African Railway Area to power the African Continental Free Trade Area.
In a letter sighted by Railway Business Magazine and signed by a former Minister of Railway Development, and another Director of the group,Olawale Rasheed the group urged the Chairperson of the AUC and relevant commissioner to set machinery in motion for the making of the policy.
Extract from the letter which was also sent to the Chief Executive Officer of AUDA-NEPAD reads as follows:
“We write on behalf of railway enthusiasts and professionals across Africa to first commend your leadership of the commission for introducing many innovations which has placed Africa on a route to economic and political integration. The second reason is to solicit the Commission’s consideration and action to kickstart the process of creation, development and ratification of an African Railway Policy as a transport backbone for the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“We call attention of the Commission to a major loophole in the drive to deploy railway transport mode to inter-connect landlocked countries and African capitals. A major impediment to achieving that goal is the lack of a unifying railway policy to ensure uniformity and standardisation within the Railway sector. We submit that the existence of Agenda 2063 does not rule out the making of the Railway Policy. The policy will ensure seamless realisation of the objectives of Agenda 2063 for the Railway sector. Your Excellency, Africa as a single free economic zone needs a single railway area.
“We offer the support of African Railway civil society to the Commission and relevant agencies in the drive to develop the policy. We are convinced that the dream of an economically integrated Africa can best be achieved with the creation of African Single Railway Area. We consequently propose the following actions for the consideration of the Commission:
● That a Study Group on African Railway Policy be created;
● That the group prepares a policy paper on the subject; and
● That preparation be made for meeting of African Transport Ministers on the matter
“African Railway Roundtable is a rail advocacy group based in Abuja, the Nigerian capital but with members from all over Africa and the Diaspora. Our mission is promotion of railway as a preferred mode of transportation and provision of advocacy support for achievement of continental railway expansion and modernisation. We are submitting this proposal after extensive consultation with railway enthusiasts and professionals alongside interactions with many policy makers”, the group noted.
The group also attached a detailed position paper to the letter.