13th UIC Regional Assembly for Africa held on 4 November 2016 in Casablanca
The 13th edition of the UIC Regional Assembly for Africa brought together around 50 participants with Members from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. Djibouti and Gabon were also represented.
The event was opened by Mr. Mohamed R. Khlie, President of the UIC African Region and CEO of Moroccan Railways ONCF and Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux – Director General of UIC, alongside Mr. Jerzy Wisniewski, UIC Director, and Coordinator of the African region, in the presence of Mrs Mfoumou Ondo, Minister of Transport and Logistics in Gabon.
Mr. Saïd Chandid, Director for Strategy and Communications of Moroccan Railways ONCF, presented the further steps for the region. Financing and durability of the actions, especially training programmes, were particularly highlighted. Projects of 2016 and future perspectives for 2017 were discussed, including a recent successful training programme – track maintenance in Rabat – for which certificates were awarded during the assembly as well as enthusiastic testimonies from trainees.
Mr. Wisniewski presented the financial aspects and challenges for the future of the region as well as briefly introducing the new UIC digital platform created at the end of 2015. Mr. Marc Antoni, Director Rail System Department at UIC HQ, pointed out the UIC “proof of concepts” within these activities. Moreover, he passed the information on signalling systems as a part of the training course subject for African region.
It was acknowledged that despite the challenging context of the region, efficient and much targeted actions such as conferences or training programmes about security, safety at level crossings and maintenance of tracks should continue. Mr. Chandid insisted on engaging even more African Members in participating in projects and on the support needed for financing: relationships with sponsors, creation of new partnerships (African Development Bank, World Bank).
The UIC Regional Assembly for Africa was also the occasion to celebrate the opening of the new UIC Representative office in Casablanca where all participants were invited to join.
Opening of the Regional Office for the UIC African Region held on 4 November 2016 in Casablanca
The Regional Office for the UIC African region was officially opened by Mrs Mfoumou Ondo, Mr. Khlie and Mr. Loubinoux during the morning of 4 November, following the UIC Regional Assembly for Africa. This office takes over a first office opened in Tunisia a few years ago. UIC takes this opportunity to warmly thank the Tunisian Railways SNCFT for having successfully completed their task of representative office in the past.
Located in the station of Casa-Port, in the centre of Casablanca, this new office for the UIC African Region will be under the responsibility of the African Region Presidency of Moroccan Railways ONCF and will contribute to reinforce relationships with Members throughout the continent. It will guarantee the follow up of action plans for the region.
We can be confident that the presence of UIC in Casablanca, with the commitment of all its regional Members, will support the development of railways in Africa. This will be a very special place to discuss the challenges of railways in the region.
UIC would like to thank ONCF for the amazing work done to make this project possible.