Posted by: africanpressorganization | 12 March 2010

Conference agrees strategies to revitalise railways systems in east Africa / 12-point set of recommendations includes proposal for an EAC Railways Regulatory Authority to coordinate the sub-sector

 


 

 

Conference agrees strategies to revitalise railways systems in east Africa / 12-point set of recommendations includes proposal for an EAC Railways Regulatory Authority to coordinate the sub-sector

 

 

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 12, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Minister for Infrastructure Development of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, has reaffirmed the critical importance of the East African Railway Master Plan as the East African Railways Conference agreed to a raft of recommendations to revitalise railway systems in the region.

 

Hon. Dr. Kawambwa said the Master Plan was vital in ensuring that there was a sustainable transport system to move goods efficiently and at competitive rates, thereby supporting the development of industries and creating jobs for the people of East Africa.

 

Said the Minister: “Tanzania has potential to be a logistics hub for non-coastal countries and regions of Central Africa and therefore, our desire, driven by investment needs, is to create one of the best transportation networks in the region.”

 

Hon. Dr. Kawambwa, who made the remarks while closing the Conference today, added that if only 10% of East African freight were moved by rail it would transform into huge savings in fuel, lead to a significant reduction in emissions and reduce road traffic congestion.

 

In order to address inefficient railway transport services, the Minister informed the Conference that the Government of Tanzania was implementing a Transport Sector Investment Program (TSIP) which puts emphasis on projects that facilitate regional integration.  One of the multinational projects being undertaken in cooperation with the Governments of Rwanda and Burundi was the upgrading and construction of Dar es Salaam – Isaka – Kigali/Keza – Gitega – Musongati railway line. 

 

The Conference came up with a draft 12-point set of recommendations which, once implemented will go a long way in revitalising the railways systems for enhanced regional integration and economic growth.

 

The Conference recommended that:

1)    Sufficient funds should be invested in rehabilitating the current railways operations for the short term while concurrently preparing the construction of the standard gauge railways;

2)    Establishment of a Marshall-like Plan for the revitalisation of the EAC Railways underpinned by the following core team:

–         Ministers responsible for Infrastructure and Finance;

–         Secretary General, EAC;

–         Chairman EABC

–         World Bank;

–         African Development Bank;

–         European Union; and

–         JICA

 

The Secretariat to draft and share the TORs and working modalities of the Core Team by end of April 2010

3)    Resolution of the issues with the current concessions within one year to lay a firm ground for long term planning for railways;

4)    Prioritization of the railways EAC projects laying emphasis on connectivity:

a)     Proposal is to focus attention at the regional level on the existing railways and the connectivity into Burundi and Rwanda linking all the EAC Partner States and neighboring countries to the Ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and selected inter connectivity links between the networks and inland waterways; and

b)    Development of detailed designs and bankable projects for the prioritized network by 2011 with clear determination of gauge size

5)    Conclusion of a regional policy and legal framework for the Public Private Partnership for railways development by August 2010

 

The Secretariat to draft the ToRs for the preparatory studies and share the drafts with the World Bank, ADB, JICA and the EU by end of April 2010 with some focus on how to leverage private resources.

 

6)  Establishment of an EAC Railways Regulatory Authority to coordinate among others policy, investment, development and competition issues in the sub-sector by June 2011.

 

7)  Establishment at the EAC Secretariat of a Project Implementation Unit dedicated to railways projects development and implementation.

The EAC Secretariat to develop a proposed structure for the PIU and share with the Partner States and the development partners by end of April 2010; and

 

8)  Entrench railways development as a core collaboration sector of the Tripartite (COMESA, EAC and SADC), including the organization of a tripartite Aid for Trade conference on railways development.

 

9)   Need to establish a railways infrastructure development fund informed by the existing road development fund authorities in the region.

 

10) Development Partners commitment to support the foregoing strategy.

 

11)  Revitalisation of the erstwhile East African Community Railway Training Schools as facilities to jointly build railways expertise and HR capacity.

 

12) The EAC Secretariat to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Sectoral Council of Transport, Communications and Meteorology by end of June 2010 to consider the foregoing proposals.

 

The two-day regional conference themed Revitalising the Railways for Enhanced Regional Integration and Economic Growth took place at the Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

 

SOURCE 

East African Community (EAC)


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