Transport Infrastructure on the African Continent: Opportunities to Implement Joint Projects



Africa’s dynamic development carries ample potential for Russian investment


“The entire continent is developing rapidly, developing aggressively, and it provides incredible partnership and investment opportunities,” – H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.


“Africa provides unique opportunities for railroad development <…> Mineral deposits: out of 9 most rapidly developing countries 5 are in Africa <…> most rapidly growing cities – it is Africa <…> Unique tourist potential – it is Africa,” – Alexander Misharin, First Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Russian Railways.


Russian companies are ready to share technologies with their African partners


“Apart from technology and project solutions we are ready to provide financial tools. Those include state guarantees, private-public partnerships, and various types of concessions. These are the mechanisms that will allow to introduce large-scale projects,” – Alexander Misharin, First Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Russian Railways.


“In addition to the wealth of experience and railway competences, we can suggest automobile industry development solutions. We are a convenient partner when it comes to passenger transportation. We have solutions that fit the budget of any country. We are ready to develop small businesses and come up with mobile solutions,” – Leonid Dolgov, Export Sales Director, GAZ Group





Underdeveloped highway network in Africa


“19% of all goods and services are moved across Africa by car. If an accident occurs, everything becomes congested. 75% of roads are connected, yet there is no network. There is no infrastructure that support intermodal transportation. There are regional railroad networks, yet the transcontinental network does not exist,” – John Edward Tambi, Advisor to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.  


“In Africa, transportation share alone is 15% [of the price of goods – Ed.] because the transport is either not there at all, or it is inefficient,” – H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.


High tax and customs barriers   


“Border crossing procedures must be harmonized (between countries – Ed.) so that the transport can travel fast,” – H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.


“We should not forget about the barriers <…> such as tariffs, customs, documents. We should resolve all these issues,” – Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman, Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.





Creating cooperation solutions


“We are creating transnational holdings to expand our area of interest. Transnet International Holdings SOC Ltd is ready to initiate a partnership with Russian Railways,” – Petrus Fusi, Сhief Executive, Transnet International Holdings SOC Ltd.


“It is time to act, to create work groups that would include representatives from Russia and the African countries <…> to foster partnerships,” – Bronwyn Nielsen, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Nielsen Media and Associates; Editor-in-Chief (2013–2017), CNBC Africa.


Complex approach to developing the infrastructure


“The free trade zone in Africa must become a reality. All member countries of the African Union design their own general transport plans. Yet, one of the key goals is building a railroad that links all the capitals of the African countries. We started the feasibility studies for this project and some stages are already getting implemented. We are talking about revamping the current infrastructure and developing our ports, that should become economic growth centres and attract various industries. We are talking about creating multimodal networks,” – H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.  


“Our goal is building a railroad from Djibouti through Sudan to South Africa. This road is going to go through 5 or 6 countries and will provide the shortest possible travel time from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” – Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman, Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.


“[Aerial – Ed.] travel volume is growing. In 2013, Maghrib transport ministers signed a few [agreements – Ed.], including the coordination agreement on service and repairs support for the aging aircrafts. We are also talking about new port infrastructure that could link Maghrib ports together,” – Basma Soudani, Director of Political Affairs, Information and Cabinet, Arab Maghreb Union


Attracting local investors


“There 3 important business development drivers in Africa: act like an investor, invest in long-term projects, help modernize the system; design services; sign agreements with local investors, develop business locally. It means, that the rolling stock for Africa should be designed and built in Africa,” – Martin Vaujour, Chief Executive Officer, TMH International.


“Private capital should act like an investor and compliment the state companies. We would like to find the proper balance between private companies and the state sector,” – Martin Vaujour, Chief Executive Officer, TMH International.


Professional training



“Our greatest resource is our people. Teaching and creating human capital that will make these projects happen – it is a paramount aspect,” – H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.   


“Sustainable functioning of the highway networks in Africa is impossible with localizing, without attracting local professionals. Every country needs local specialists for design and R&D,” – Martin Vaujour, Chief Executive Officer, TMH International.

For more information, visit the Roscongress Information and Analytical System at

To participants in the Russia–Africa Economic Forum

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

The rich history of relations between Africa and Russia has never seen an event of a similar scale. Members of government agencies and business community, and experts are meeting at this Forum to substantively discuss the current status and prospects of cooperation and a wide range of topical issues of the world economy.

Today, the countries of Africa are well on their way towards social, economic, scientific and technological development, and are playing a significant role in international affairs. They are strengthening mutually beneficial integration processes within the African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations across the continent.

In recent years, the traditionally friendly ties of partnership between Russia and Africa have gained new momentum, both at a bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. In addition to preserving our past experience of successful cooperation, we have also managed to make significant new steps forward. Trade and investment are growing dynamically, and new joint projects are under way in extractive industries, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructures.

I hope that the Forum will help identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising joint initiatives that will bring the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to the development of our economies and the prosperity of our peoples.

I wish the Forum’s participants fruitful work and all the best.

Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI