African Railway Leaders to Meet over Financing Challenges

Amidst funding crisis and outcry over likely debt crisis, a rail advocacy group, African Railway Roundtable, alongside a Swiss and South African rail associations, has scheduled a railway financing conference and exhibition for October 24, 2019.

The event scheduled for Abuja, the Nigerian capital, is co-sponsored by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Transportation, German Friendship Society, South African Railroad Association, Railway Working Group of Switzerland among many other partners.

According to a statement issued by a director of the African Railway Roundtable, Mr Olawale Rasheed, high profile speakers lined up for this event include Ministers of transportation, heads of national railway agencies, finance professionals, Logistic experts alongside critical procurement decision makers; railway manufacturers and other stakeholders.

Commenting on the significance of the event, Mr Rasheed said “railway transport is a sector attracting passionate interest among African leaders with several governments embarking on ambitious railway expansion and modernization,” adding that “financing railway is a major headache for Africa.

“African leaders are challenged by funding and financing constraints in their bid to execute ambitious rail agenda. National capacity is limited. Borrowing raises fear of debt trap. Multilateral sources are equally facing shortfall and capacity crisis. The continent is in search of a workable sustainable financing and funding options to expand and upgrade the railway network system and benefits from the many advantages of railway transport.

“The Railway Financing conference will help participants to develop a greater understanding of the financing possibilities and options. The conference will present various financing paths while at the end forging a combined alternative to satisfying African yearning for an expanded railway network.

“The Railway Financing Conference 2019 is where leading government officials and experts will discuss the major funding challenges facing the railway sector, devise how to finance railway facilities, understand why new financial engineering is the answer  and how new financing options are imperative if Africa is to reap the benefits of expanded railway system,” Mr Rasheed noted.

“A major part of the conference is exhibition pavilion for railway manufacturers and railway agencies to showcase services, products and investment opportunities. We expect exhibitors from all over the world,” the ARR director noted.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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