Rail Forum (RF) and the Southern African Railway Association (SARA) have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) designed to encourage collaboration and to promote long-term co-operation in rail infrastructure development for mutual benefit in their respective markets.
The collaboration brings together RF, SARA, the UK Department for Business and Trade (DBT), UK Export Finance (UKEF), UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) with the aim of working collaboratively to support the development of Southern Africa and the UK Midlands as international rail hubs.
They also intend to provide access to wider UK supply chain expertise.
Babe Botana, executive director of SARA said; “Embodying our motto, ‘Together We Are Better,’ we at SARA are elated to sign this Letter of Intent with our international cohorts today. This initial signing is just the beginning of a more expansive collaboration, destined to bolster our regional railway members. As we steer towards realising the ambition of a seamlessly integrated region by rail.
“Essential to augmenting inter-regional trade, it becomes imperative to unlock the much-needed investments for railway infrastructure, technology, and rolling stock assets. Moreover, nurturing our human capital to hone our skills is crucial.
“By leveraging the legacy and expertise in railway development, digitalisation, among others, of the UK partners involved in this LoI, we are poised to accelerate the agenda for a reliable, efficient, and predictable regional railway network.”
Both Rail Forum and SARA signed the LoI at a signing ceremony on day 2 of the Southern African Railways Association Conference and Exhibition in Johannesburg and was witnessed by DBT, FCDO, UKRINN and Rail Forum – as well as by Transport Ministers and railway CEOs from the region.
“The opportunities that Southern Africa presents in the rail sector, play well to both our regional strengths and sectoral expertise, said Ian Harrison, DBT’s head of export development, Midlands.
“This Letter of Intent between the Rail Forum and Southern African Railways Association is yet another invaluable milestone towards greater collaboration and insight between UK rail and Southern Africa and another step forwards in our DBT’s trade strategy – Made in the UK”, he added.
Elaine Clark, chief executive, Rail Forum added; “We are delighted to sign this Letter of Intent with SARA with a view to establishing a long-term relationship for mutual benefit.
“There are some great opportunities for collaboration between the UK supply chain and Southern African rail companies that can help not just with modernising the railway but that can also leave a lasting legacy through local skills development and knowledge transfer.”
Rail Forum also recently released the dates for Rail Safety Week 2024, which will run from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th June.
Some of the countries key industry leaders are backing Safety Week including Andrew Haines, CEO of Network Rail, Mark Phillips, CEO of RSSB and Maggie Simpson, director general of Rail Freight Group.
Photo/Video Credit: Rail Forum