Tuesday 7 March 2023

9th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development held in Niger

Share this article

The 9th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD), organised by the Government of Niger and UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), was held in Niamey, Niger, from 28 February to 2 March 2023. Nouroundine Traoré, Director General of the Compagnie Générale du Génie Ferroviaire du Niger (The General Company of Railway Engineering - COGEFER), represented UIC with his participation in the panel discussion on “Industry, innovation, and infrastructure” on 1 March 2023.

The panel moderator, Salamatou Gourouza, Nigerien Minister of Industry and Entrepreneurship, opened the floor to the speakers and participants to discuss the goal of SDG 9, which is to build resilient infrastructure and promote sustainable and inclusive industrial development. In this speech, she noted that resilient infrastructure would be a catalyst to boosting economic development in Africa and stressed the need for Africa to promote innovative development.

The panellists of the session included:

  • Robert Lisinge, Acting Director of the Private Sector Development and Finance Division, UNECA
  • Julien Paluku Kahongya, Minister of Industry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Moussa Ayra, General Secretary of the Nigerien Ministry of Higher Education and Research
  • Kavazeua Katjomuise, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa
  • Nouroundine Traoré, Director General of COGEFER and UIC representative

They discussed the next important steps for Africa, including private investment, local development, and the need to create a value chain.

Traoré explained that rail development would provide African economies with the means for strong and sustainable economic growth especially with the Agenda 2063 being the blueprint of the African Union, and the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN) being one of its 15 flagship projects. The AIHSRN’s goal is to connect landlocked African countries to major seaports and neighbouring states. For this to be effective, developing a railway harmonisation framework remains one of the essential projects for the region.

He also explained UIC’s observer role at UNFCCC, inviting all railway decision-makers to join UIC at COP 28 in Dubai to represent the rail freight and public transport sectors at this important global event.

He further highlighted that new railway projects in Niger and the West African region could facilitate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, with one of these being the

Kano-Katsina-Maradi railroad construction project that would improve transport services within the zone by bringing about regional economic integration, by minimising transaction costs (barriers to trade), and facilitating the free movement of people and goods. He also presented the rail loops Cotonou-Niamey-Ouagadougou-Abidjan, Dosso-Konni-Kaoura-Namoda-Sokoto and Kano-Maradi-Zinder (the Zinder-Maradi section).

For more information on the activities of UIC Africa, please contact Maria Lafont at lafont@uic.org

0 vote