On the occasion of its 11th Congress, the International Union of Railways (UIC) suggested to African States to associate the development of high-speed trains with current and future railway projects in order to make up for the continent’s delays in rail transport.
On the occasion of its 11th Congress, the International Union of Railways (UIC) suggested to African States to associate the development of high-speed trains with current and future railway projects in order to make up for the continent’s delays in rail transport. The share of this type of transport in mobility on the continent represents at most 3% of global rail activities.
In Marrakech are gathered since March 7, experts, multinationals, investors and other stakeholders in the sector who are looking at the challenges of development of HSR and their impact on the economy of the continent. According to François Davenne, DG of the UIC, trains run at too low a speed (limited to between 55 and 160 km/h instead of the world average of 300 km/h), on the entire African rail network, which totals about 90,000 km of rail for a total area of nearly 29.6 million km ², or only 14% of the world’s rail network.
The low density of the African network is not only due to the lack of rail extension, but also to the non-existence of rail infrastructure in nearly 15 countries on the continent. In addition to the low speed of traffic, the development of this mode is also hampered by the state of the infrastructure, which is generally dilapidated because it was built during the colonial era. There is also a lack of interconnection between countries and regions by rail. “The design model of the current railroads inherited from the colonial era was developed with the idea of exporting, not interconnecting countries,” explains François Davenne.
In the current context where the AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) has become effective, he believes that rail should be a key instrument for the implementation of this policy. “The current challenge is to connect all African countries. Successfully implementing the new African Union master plan for the development of high-speed rail by 2063 will stimulate economic growth on the continent.
Morocco is the only African country with a high-speed rail line. The Moroccan network has 350 km of high-speed lines, with the ambition of extending it to 1500 km by 2030.