UIC Africa launched a sustainability pledge for the African region on September 28 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Africa Climate week, with UIC Africa members targeting a carbon neutral network and an increase in the market share to 25% by 2050.

The pledge sets out a plan to realise the two ambitions as well as support the wellbeing of the workforce.  The pledge also seeks to promote modal shift to rail through process and digital innovation and charging policies to enable an accessible, seamlessly connected and effective customer experience.

The ambition for decarbonisation will be achieved through energy efficiency, eco-design and circularity principles and the planned phasing out of diesel services and prioritising renewable energy sources. The pledge also sets out the importance of regional collaboration, knowledge sharing and integration.

UIC Africa also set out a call for action to bolster the development of African railways and support sustainable mobility in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, chairman of UIC Africa and UIC vice-chairman, noted during his opening speech that the Green Deal for Africa Railways, launched during the climate week, represents a moral contract reflecting the collective commitment and voice of the railway community.

UIC Director General, Mr François Davenne, welcomed and applauded the leadership being taken in the railways of Africa, adding that UIC will be calling for action to invest and support rail in Africa and globally at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

An in-depth review of the challenges and opportunities in the African rail market appeared in the July issue of IRJ.