Railway key to Africa free trade – ECA

Railways are the key to open and free trade across Africa and their development is critical to the continent’s sustainable development agenda, Soteri Gatera, Chief of Industrialisation and Infrastructure at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said on Tuesday.

In a presentation at PIDA Week 2018 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mr. Soteri said Africa badly needs an integrated railway network, especially as its roads cannot contain the growing strain from trucks transporting goods across the continent.

“Lack of integrated African rail networks is holding back African growth and intra-continental trade,” he said, adding that moving passengers and freight onto high speed rail networks was vital for environmental, social and economic reasons.

Doing this requires billions of dollars in investment infrastructure and rolling stock but States’ resources are limited.

“There is an urgent need for more rolling stock. It is clear that States cannot carry this burden alone and private entrepreneurs and private capital is needed to ensure the dream comes true,” said Mr. Soteri in his presentation titled The Luxembourg Rail Protocol: Railway Rolling Stock Financing – A new solution for Africa.

The Luxembourg Protocol, which was adopted in 2007 but is still not in force, creates a new global legal regime for securing creditors, facilitating more and cheaper asset based financing of railway equipment without state support.

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