- An "ambitious initiative and sustainable plan to boost and lay out a 21st century road and rail transport infrastructure in Africa" is to be unveiled at the inaugural Africa Roads & Rail Infrastructure Summit 2010 in Kigali, organisers promise.
The summit is to be hold in the Rwandan capital from 21-23 April and is to gather global transport specialists, together with decision-makers from African governments, the World Bank and regional economic communities. Also expected are senior executives from major road and rail transport companies, engineering and construction groups, project financiers, investors, development banks and funding agencies.
The attention will be focused on the African region "to strategise, fast-track and integrate national action plans of African countries involving road and rail," according to the organisers.
"Opportunities for business, trade, investment, finance, project facilitation and deal structuring will feature when the vital elements of Africa's transport infrastructure come under the spotlight at the summit," they promise.
The summit host, the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure, hopes to attract infrastructure investments to the landlocked East African country.
"Rwanda is in much need of infrastructure including roads, railways and others," says Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Vincent Karega. "Infrastructure development is one of the major areas I will focus on as well as appropriate maintenance strategies that are sustainable to our economic development. This Summit is an important platform to strengthen economic cooperation and harness the potential of investments," added Minister Karega.
Road and rail authorities and ministries from Ethiopia, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania have already announced they will showcase upcoming projects and investment opportunities at the Kigali summit.
Citadel Capital, the largest private equity firm in Africa with investments of more than US$ 8.3 billion, is the lead sponsor of the event. The firm recently acquired a stake in the largest shareholder in Rift Valley Railways, which has a concession to run the Kenya-Uganda railway network, as part of its plan to deploy US$ 200-400 million in new equity across East Africa in 2010-12.
"Citadel Capital will look to inject more than US$ 150 million in Rift Valley Railway over the coming five years," noted company Director Karim Sadek. "This summit will provide the perfect opportunity to showcase our proven interest in the region's transportation and logistics sector while identifying new markets for further investment," Mr Sadek added.
"An efficient rail network could, in time, bring East African transport costs down by as much as 50 percent due to the operational and fuel efficiency of shipping by rail," Mr Sadek continued. "Kenya-Uganda Railways hauls just over 1 million tonnes per annum today out of an existing market of 16 million tonnes being handled in Mombasa Port today. New investment and a fresh approach to management could see that figure grow to 5 million tonnes per annum within five years."
State of the art technologies in efficient road tolling systems for road infrastructure financing will be discussed by Session Sponsor "Q Free" from Norway. Construction engineering and project management best practices to enhance and optimise capacity will also be deliberated upon.
The CEO of the conference organising company, Magenta Global, Maggie Tan has dubbed the event "a congregation of who's who in the transport sector in Africa" and encouraged relevant stakeholders in the region and beyond "to be part of this epoch making event where relationships are formed, projects discussed and deals initiated."
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