Posted by: africanpressorganization | 3 March 2010

East African Railways conference set for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: 11-12 March / Rt. Hon. Mizengo Pinda to deliver the keynote address Conference to discuss Public Private Partnership (PPP) in railways

 


 

 

 

East African Railways conference set for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: 11-12 March / Rt. Hon. Mizengo Pinda to deliver the keynote address Conference to discuss Public Private Partnership (PPP) in railways

 

 

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 3, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A regional conference on East African railways system themed Revitalising the Railways for Enhanced Regional Integration and Economic Growth is to take place on 11 – 12 March 2010 at the Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

 

The regional conference is being organised by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the World Bank and the African Development Bank as part of the process of actualising the East African Railway Master Plan. It is also meant to get synergy from other institutions on the way forward for the dilapidated railway system in the region.

 

The regional conference will be attended by participants drawn from the public and private sectors and the donor community among others and will include; officials from the Partner States Ministries responsible for Infrastructure Development; officials from the Railway Holding Companies and Concessionaires; the World Bank, African Development Bank and other development partners; transporters and freight forwarders; the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Juma Mwapachu and his Deputy in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Mr. Alloys Mutabingwa; Director of Planning and Infrastructure, Mr. Philip Wambugu; and other senior staff from the EAC Secretariat.

 
 

The preparation of the East African Railway Master Plan is a directive by the Summit of the EAC Heads of State for the development of a regional strategy to revamp the railways after decades of neglect and poor management which had severely eroded the dominant role of railways as the main conveyor of freight in the region.

 

The Master Plan was prepared by CPCS Transcom of Canada and contains recommendations on what the region needs to do in order to revamp the railways system in the short, medium and long terms, and includes issues on traffic projections, technical considerations, legal and institutional reforms and environmental mitigation measures.

 

The recommendations in the Master Plan have financial implications and it is this context that the EAC Secretariat is holding the regional conference in order to drum up support from development partners and potential investors.

 

According to the tentative programme, the Rt. Hon. Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania is scheduled to grace the event and deliver the keynote address. The President of CPCS Transcom, Mr. Peter Kieran is expected to make a presentation on the EAC Railway Master Plan with the view to provide an overview of the study findings. He will also present the current financial and physical state of railways in EAC as well as highlight the challenges related to enabling current rail operations; from inter-modal competition, to financial solvency and attractiveness to private operators.

 

At the two-day conference, Partner States are expected to highlight current plans for existing and development of new railways and also  comment on the master plan and appraise the conference on the country plans, their status, and how they fit in with the EAC Railway Master Plan including arrangements for financing. In this context, the Managing Director of RAHCO, Mr.  Benhadard M. Tito will present on Tanzania; Kenya will be represented by Mr. Nduva Muli, the Managing Director of Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Uganda by a representative from the Ministry of Works and transport.

 

The Conference will offer lessons learnt from rail concessions in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA).  The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) Report on African Railways (sponsored by the World Bank), to be unveiled at the conference, provides an overview of the challenges facing railways in Africa, from unfair inter-modal competition, to limited markets and poor governance and regulations.

 

The document also presents the performance of both state-owned and privately owned railways in SSA and identifies what has worked and not worked vis-à-vis railway concessions. The objective is to provide an overview of the key findings of the AICD report review on railways and to establish the basic requirements of a successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in railways in Africa as well as show how existing concessions have been successfully restructured to secure an equitable financing of future rail operators investment needs (infrastructure and rolling stock).

 

A session on railways financial and operational challenges in Africa, drawing from operators’, regulators’ and financiers’ viewpoints will form the hallmark of the conference. EAC Director of Planning and Infrastructure Mr. Philip Wambugu says: “These views and knowledge need to be used to develop not only railways but, more importantly, multimodal transport policies that can ensure maximum efficiency and sustainability of future railways infrastructure investments in the EAC Partner States.”

 

He adds that it is expected that this session will improve the understanding of the decision makers of the issues facing rail operators and the type of policies changes needed to foster sustainable and efficient public sector investment in the rail sector.   

 

The Director of Regional Strategy Unit at the JICA, Mr. Yoshiro Kurashina will make a presentation on the Japanese experience on the evolution of railways in the context of understanding the ways and means to achieve improvements in competitiveness and market share which could in turn lead to future upgrading, including moving to standard gauge, based on financial feasibility. These experiences were built on strong systems and technological advancement from which EAC countries could benefit.

 

Additional information

Railways operations have been for the most part concessioned in EAC. The hopes linked to the concessioning process have not been materialised and Governments are facing possible shut down of operations and/or are liable for hundreds of millions in track investment if they want to safeguard their remaining railways from collapsing.

 

For more information on EAC infrastructure projects (including railways) please visit:

http://www.eac.int/infrastructure

 

 

For further information please contact:
Richard Owora Othieno
Ag. Head of Department
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Phone: +256 718 358664 / +255 784 835021
Email: othieno@eachq.org

 

SOURCE 

East African Community (EAC)


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