Railway transport, the backbone of Euro-Mediterranean and North-African economic integration

Published : Friday 06 November 2015

Conclusions of the seminar that took place on November 12th, 2014, in Tunis

While great North/South spaces are shaping up, Europe and North African countries must find solutions in proximity, complementarity and solidarity and therefore unite to impose themselves in globalisation. In this context, the North-African integration is key to a better Euro-Mediterranean integration. Railway can and must play an important role in this construction.

This is why, in 2014, IPEMED initiated an assessment of railway transport in three North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) to highlight existing complementarity between one another and identify structuring elements for a better North-African integration.

Relying on these works, IPEMED organised, along with its partners SNCF, SNCFT and EuroMed RRU - Road, Rail and Urban transport project, an exchange seminar on 12th November 2015 in Tunis under the auspices of the Tunisian Ministry of Transports. The main aim was to draw a trans-North-African railway cooperation framework around three major areas:
- standardisation of institutional and cooperation framework;
- definition of common future projects ;
- development of interoperability between networks.

This seminar gathered 50 public and private actors of the sector (Ministry of Transports, railway operators, regional and Euro-Mediterranean organisations, international donors). It led to recommendations on the definition of a targeted horizontal action programme to create a Trans-North-African rail corridor, ensuring the central position of railway in the logistic chain in a regional intermodality dimension.

The Secretariat general of the Union for the Mediterranean will continue this work, along with IPEMED, the International Rail Transport Committee, Euromed RRU transport project and the actors of the sector - especially railway operators and their institutions – in order to define this programme and have it labelled which will open the door for seeking funding.

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