Morocco’s National Railways Office (ONCF) is organizing a training program on railway maintenance for the benefit of senior African railway network officials.
The training sessions, which began on November 9, are taking place remotely through November 20.
The initiative falls within the framework of the International Union of Railways (UIC); Morocco has been chairing the African section of the organization since 2010.
The countries taking part in the training sessions include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and Tunisia.
The training program is the seventh of its kind after six sessions in Rabat between 2014 and 2019.
The initiative seeks to help African countries improve their railway systems and encourage pan-African cooperation in the field.
According to a statement from ONCF, a large part of railway networks in sub-Saharan African states need rehabilitation and modernization, as they have not been upgraded since the colonial era.
Morocco’s ONCF estimates that 81,000 kilometers of railways in Africa need modernization. The Moroccan office also recommends the construction of 13,200 kilometers of new railways in accordance with international standards.
The training program includes daily conferences co-hosted by experts from the UIC and ONCF.
“ONCF is increasing its initiatives to share its experience and know-how with African networks, in order to give a new impetus and further revitalize South-South cooperation in the field of railways,” the statement said.
Besides the annual training programs held in Rabat, ONCF has organized over the past five years 17 conferences and seminars that brought together a total of 22,000 experts. The Moroccan railway office has also offered field training on track maintenance for nearly 320 participants from African countries.
Morocco is considered a continental leader in terms of railways. In 2018, the country launched the first high-speed railway in Africa. The 323-kilometer-long line links Casablanca and Tangier.
In total, Morocco has nearly 2,300 kilometers of operating railways. More than 35 million passengers use trains in the country every year.