Department of Transport
16 October 2019
A regional transport regulatory authority is needed to enforce harmonised standards and contribute towards regional integration in Africa.
In a speech at the African Ports and Rail Evolution Conference in Durban, the transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, described the transport sector as a cornerstone of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“The aim of the Free Trade Area is to promote economic integration and liberalise African markets. For this to happen we need to connect out people in roads, rail and water and airports”, he said.
The minister, however, pointed out that the potential of the transport sector to contribute more towards full integration of the region is hamstrung by serious operational and infrastructure inefficiencies.
Steps that need to be taken to assist with integration include dealing with operational delays and congestion at border crossings, the setting up of a regional regulatory authority to enforce standards, mobilising regional resources to modernize ports to speed up turnaround times and scrutinizing tariff regimes to facilitate ease of doing business across the continent.
The minister highlighted the setting up of the Regional Rail Safety Regulator within the Southern African Development Community as a positive development.
The South African Rail Safety Regulator is involved in the process to establish the Regional Regulator.
The minister also indicated that the implementation of a North-South Corridor connecting the African continent will depend to a large extent on mobilising private sector funding to develop cross boundary infrastructure and create sustainable jobs.
“A call for the private sector is to realise Africa’s potential and a call for our governments is to seek partnerships with the private sector in a win-win situation placing our people and the environment first”.