African Union development agency,NEPAD has issued updates on the planned Africa Integrated High Speed Railway Network Project.
In a report issued at the AU Heads of States summit focusing on the implementation of Agenda 2063 (Africa We Want),the agency detailed the prospects and challenges facing the project.
Excerpts from the report is presented below:
“The Africa Integrated High-Speed Railway Network Project is designed to connect African capitals, economic and other industrial hubs as well as major tourism locations with appropriate high-speed rail.
Completed tasks on the project include :
“A detailed scoping study together with the strategy note has been completed;
“A process has been launched for contracting a firm to conduct the financial and technical, legal; and
“institutional audit of the African Union of Railways, with a view to its revitalisation.
Problems facing the project as identified in the report include :
” Lack of funds for the detail engineering study;and
” Lack of dedicated experts to manage the project under the project implementation unit.
The agency recommended the following actions to the continental leadership :
“Undertake resource mobilisation for the next phases of the Continental High-Speed Train Network project;
” Strengthen the project implementation unit within the AU Development Agency;
” Revive the Union of African Railways to oversee; and
“Facilitate policy and strategic development of the railway sector in Africa”.
Railway Business magazine gathered that South African President ,Cyril Ramaphosa who is the new AU Chairperson is committed to fast tracking the implementation of the project.
Ramaphosa is believed to be in the full picture of the project conception and update so far ,a situation said to have garnered required political support for the High speed project in the context of African Continental Free Trade Area.
Earlier, a rail advocacy group,African Railway Roundtable had called on the new AU Chairperson to declare ‘a Decade of Railways’ to facilitate technical harmonisation of railways network,revival of African Railway Union and urgency of action on the execution of the continental High speed rail project.
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