Development partners seek efficient rail network in Africa
The experts spoke at the signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the African-Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), and South Africa-based, Thelo DB Proprietary Limited, in Johannesburg, to develop, finance and operate railway projects in Africa.
President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, described the gesture as timely, given that the continent was in the process of operationalising the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
Oramah said it is imperative that critical trade enabling infrastructure be put into place to facilitate the flow of tradable goods and services along Africa’s trade corridors.
He noted that Afreximbank’s strategic plan, impact2021, sought to dramatically improve intra-African trade.
Chairman of the Board of Thelo DB, Ronnie Ntuli, said strategic collaboration between the two organisations provided Thelo DB with the prospect to enhance the technical value chain of services that it offers the African railway sector.
“Through this critically important relationship, we are able to offer to the continent, not only the best technical solutions for the railway sector, but also introduce financing solutions to finance railway projects across the continent.”
He noted that Afreximbank and Thelo DB were well-positioned to facilitate trade, support infrastructure development and, importantly, help deliver the ambition of regional integration.
According to him, Thelo DB is committed to delivering unparalleled know-how and experience in the African railway sector, and providing railway infrastructure development, operational cooperation and construction supervision, by implementing and rehabilitating existing infrastructure, enhancing operational efficiencies, and managing risks associated with rolling stock while transferring skills through training and skills development programmes.
He added that by bringing separate but complimentary sets of specialities, Afreximbank and Thelo DB anticipate much improved efficiencies in the development, financing and operation of railway infrastructure projects, enhancing regional skills and supporting broader economic development on the African continent.
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