Marrakech, 22 March 2019 (ECA) – An event to kick start solid arrangements for the innovative financing of railway vehicles that would ply the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network, one of the African Union's Agenda 2063's flagship infrastructure programs, is billed for the Oliveraie room of Palmeraie Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco tomorrow.
Themed "Railway rolling stock financing: a new solution for Africa," the high-level exchange will be held on the fringes of the 52 nd Session of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), also known as the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The discussions have been necessitated by the increasing financial pressures African States are facing in financing the enabling infrastructure for their sustainable development, due to their growing debt burdens.
An alternative to public sector financing of such infrastructure, which departs from past traditions of direct state commitments, is therefore seen as the way forward.
The meeting will therefore connect leading development and financing organizations in Africa; think tanks; and senior officials from African ministries of finance, economic planning and transport with heads of major railway authorities across the continent to seek how to leverage the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Railway Rolling Stock (also known as the Luxembourg Protocol) to fund the acquisition of railway vehicles for African Integrated High Speed Railway Network.
Experts say Luxembourg Protocol will facilitate the provision of capital from banks and other funders for rolling stock procurement through secured credit and leasing of railway vehicles (rolling stock) to operators without the need for State guarantees.
According some experts, for instance the business forecasting firm – Roland Berger, this model is already being used to finance at least 12 per cent of railway rolling stock globally. It is expected to keep gaining grounds.
The meeting will serve as platform for fully explaining the merits of the Luxembourg protocol and trigger commitment by African leaders to ratify the Luxembourg Protocol to pave the way for flexible investments in moveable railway equipment for the intercontinental railway project.
When implemented, the Project (African Integrated High Speed Railway Network) will be key in ensuring the timely movement of goods, services and people across national capitals and business hubs of the continent, acting as a further stimulator of production, trade and inclusive growth.
It is expected to relieve the congestion of current transport systems, such as roads, as well as future systems across the continent.