16 June 2024 01:52 AM

Egypt's Participation in the 11th UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail 2023

Tuesday، 07 March 2023 - 12:00 AM

The Minister of Transport, Lieutenant General Engineer Kamel Al-Wazir, participated on Tuesday 7-3-2023 in the 11th UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail 2023, at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Congress is organized by the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the Moroccan Railways (ONCF), under the auspices of His Majesty King Mohamed VI.

Adopting “High-speed rail: the right speed for our planet” as its theme, the congress will emphasize rail’s contribution to addressing climate change and its role in territorial development.

The Congress witnessed the participation of 1,500 participants coming from 48 countries, 25 CEOs gathered for the first time, Ministers and Ambassadors coming from all the continents, 25 sponsors and with an exhibition area of 1,000 m2, the event includes a number of high-level keynote speakers, representatives and railway CEOs from regions across the world, as well as political decision-makers, transport authorities, railway companies and key players in intermodality, infrastructure managers, the supply industry, financial institutions, customers, study and research institutes, universities, etc., all of whom are invited to take part in the event’s working sessions, trade show and technical visits.

It will run from 7 to 10 March and will review and look at the current development of global high-speed rail systems, exhibit the latest state-of-the-art high-speed technologies and form a vision on the future of high-speed.

The event is organized around three main blocks: round tables and parallel sessions, where participants may have in-depth discussions and exchanges on the latest technologies and achievements of HSR planning, construction, technology & equipment, operation management and safety, etc. One entire day will be devoted to technical visits.

The event will also provide a platform for dialogues and exchanges of HSR countries and set the direction for future HSR research and development, which will exert a profound influence on its future.

Speech of Lieutenant General Engineer / Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport, at the opening session of the World High-Speed Rail Conference

Addressing the opening session of the World High Speed Rail Conference in Marrakesh, El-Wazir said Africa suffers a shortage in cross-border rail transport projects, as it has only 5 percent of the world's total railway lines.

He added that these projects are "a fundamental pillar" for achieving the desired development in the continent.

El-Wazir also noted that the shortage in rail transport projects causes "huge" economic losses and negatively impacts the continent's competitiveness globally.

The minister also said: "Integration in our African continent cannot be dealt with in isolation from the advancement of the transportation infrastructure network, especially in light of the great boom that the railway sector is witnessing, represented by high-speed railway lines."

In December, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the African continent needs a fully-fledged international project to develop its infrastructure. 

He pointed out that President El-Sisi said at a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the three-day US-Africa Leaders Summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington DC on 13-15 December, that such a project, whose aim is to develop a comprehensive vision for Africa's infrastructure, requires mobilising resources and support from major countries and global development experts.

El-Wazir said the current progress in transportation modes can help facilitate the movement of goods, services and people in a way that provides an environment conducive to achieving higher levels of productive and economic integration.

The Egyptian minister praised the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) in January 2021 as a milestone on the road to continental integration.

This agreement, he added, is a real opportunity for the African countries to liberalize more than 90 percent of customs tariffs and contribute to achieving a higher growth rate for the African citizen.

He noted that the agreement can increase the rate of intra-African trade, which stands currently at no more than 15 percent of the total trade on the continent, whose total population nears 1.2 billion people with a GDP of about $2.5 trillion.

Meanwhile, El-Wazir reviewed the vision of the Egyptian transport ministry, which he said: "goes beyond just transportation of passengers and goods to participation in sustainable development for the country."

He pointed out that Egypt has increased the percentage of green projects in its public budget from 15 percent to 50 percent.

He also cited the Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative, which Egypt launched during COP27 with the aim of decarbonizing the transportation sector.

The minister called for taking the LOTUS initiative as a method of action for developing countries in preparation for establishing serious governance mechanisms to provide serious financing and support.

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