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West and East Africa linked by OIC rail project

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) announced on Thursday its plans for the Dakar-Port Sudan rail network project, which will link West and East Africa.
Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru, OIC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, announced an alliance with the African Union as the sponsor of the Dakar-Djibouti transport project, which is similar to the OIC scheme.
He was delivering a speech on behalf of Yousef Al-Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general, during a session in Istanbul on the sidelines of the 33rd meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC).
Opeloyeru said that ensuring the continued engagement of regional organizations — the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) — as part of OIC’s Dakar-Port Sudan railroad network project would help to implement regional projects along the OIC transport corridor of the Dakar-Port Sudan railroad while addressing the challenges that may impede financing the project.
He said that the OIC aims to strengthen its cooperation with non-States members — such as China — to ensure their participation in the Dakar-Port Sudan rail project through contributing to capacity building and providing entrepreneurs and business owners with financial support. It wanted to ensure that the project would be a meeting point with China’s Silk Road transport infrastructure project, “One way – one belt.”
“This multi-stakeholder approach will further increase the engagement of state members involved in OIC’s Dakar-Port Sudan railroad project, which will serve as a multimodal transport corridor and will encourage stakeholders to actively participate in its implementation,” he said.
The Dakar-Port Sudan railroad project, which OIC unveiled during the Islamic Summit held in Dakar in March 2008, extends over 10,100 km and is one of the largest development projects aiming to improve trade exchange and the economies of African OIC members.
The railroad will pass through seven African countries: Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. It will also connect Gambia, West Guinea and Libya in the north, Cameroon in the center, and Uganda in the south to improve trade exchange and the transport network linking East and West Africa.
The railroad will help the moving of goods from East Africa to the Americas, from West Africa to Asia, and from across Africa to North Europe through Gibraltar, in addition to serving as an access to the sea for four countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger. It will also provide land transport services to the people living in the cities along the continent.
The project will help to achieve development goals including the OIC’s Programme of Action for the next decade (2016-2025) and the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.