Nigeria and other African countries are set to benefit as the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has signed a partnership deal with South Africa-based Railway company, Thelo DB Proprietary Limited to develop, finance and operate railway projects in Africa.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two organisations on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa Investment Forum.
The terms of the MoU, according to The Nation, include Afreximbank and Thelo DB partnering to support the modernisation and renovation of Africa’s railways in different countries. By doing so, the organisations aim to promote trade, investment and economic skills development.
The President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, while speaking during the signing ceremony said the partnership was timely as Africa was in the process of operationalizing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. He said that it was important for the transport sector to be effective so as to encourage Intra-African trade. According to Oramah, the partnership will enable easy flow of tradeable goods and services from one African country to another.
Why this matters: The partnership will help in job creation which will, in turn, boost the African economy at large. According to the Thelo DB chairman, Ronnie Ntuli, the jobs that would be created were unlimited.
“Our agreement is to not import skills from outside the continent but to develop domestic African skills. If you look at any railway projects, whether it’s construction or sustainably into the long term the operations, it’s a big job creator,” Ntuli said.
Ntuli emphasized the importance of this project as he said that the rail would connect Africa the same way it did Europe, America and Asia, and open up much-needed logistics for imports and exports while utilising minerals, steel and other resources.
What you should know: The partnership is coming at a time when there is rising focus on the need for efficient and effective transportation and logistics solution in Nigeria and Africa, especially in the railway sector. Recall that Nairametrics reported when an MoU was signed between Nigeria and Russia to modernize the Nigerian Railway sector.
The Nigeria-Russia collaboration was to help hasten the construction of the rail manufacturing company at Kajola in Ogun State. Also, it was signed to rehabilitate the Nigerian Railway Corporation rolling stock-fleet (railway vehicles, coaches etc) and upgrading of workshops in Nigeria.