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Africa’s rail transport set for digital upgrade

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 31 May 2024
Cameroon’s prime minister Dion Ngute also attended the conference.
Cameroon’s prime minister Dion Ngute also attended the conference.

African executives in the railway transport ecosystem have committed to accelerate the digitisation of rail operations, such as ticket sales and verification, freight and container tracking..

The group gathered this week in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, for the third African Digital Rail Congress.

Participants at the three-day congress discussed challenges to digital development in Africa, as well as how Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) may be used to improve safety, train monitoring, predictive maintenance, and asset management.

According to Christian Chavanel, director of rail systems and Africa coordinator at the International Union of Railways (UIC), digital technology has the potential to improve railway safety, dependability, profitability, and customer experience.

“Digital technology is everywhere...It is crucial that we develop digital tools that will improve on the railway sector. That is why UIC, which is present in five continents, has decided to develop the railway sector among its African members, by urging them to invest in digitalisation,” Chavanel stated.

He noted that access to capital for digitization is critical, and that transformation will make the sector more productive and appealing to young talent.

He continued: “We need the young generation, so they can come up with innovative ideas that will attract investors. With digitalisation, there will be better time management of trains, which, by extension, will affect maintenance, capacity, punctuality, safety, productivity and railway infrastructure.”

Cameroon’s prime minister Dion Ngute who also attended the conference believes digitalisation will boost African economies.

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