Egypt seeks Africa development via Cairo-Cape Town Road

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Sun, 03 Feb 2019 - 01:44 GMT

A haul truck is seen at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in Mokopane, Limpopo province, South Africa, September 19, 2017 - REUTERS

A haul truck is seen at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in Mokopane, Limpopo province, South Africa, September 19, 2017 - REUTERS

CAIRO – 3 February 2019: Egypt’s Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat said during a Parliamentary session Sunday that Egypt is looking forward to develop joint projects with African countries, including a land road between Cairo and Cape Town.

This came during a meeting held by the African Affairs Committee of the Parliament, where Arafat discussed the project, which is one of the ministry’s bids to restore the river transport system, after it was harmed by oil subsidies.

The Cape to Cairo Road or Pan-African Highway was a proposal since 1890s, when Prime Minister of Cape Colony Cecil Rhodes dreamt for a ‘red line’ on the map, referring to British dominions. It is similar to the proposal of Cape-to Cairo Railway through British territory at that time.

Introduced as a plan aiming to develop Africa, the road would be 10.300 km long, starting from Alexandria Port on the Mediterranean Sea then Cairo, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and finally South Africa.

Minister Arafat told the members of the committee that part of the road has been accomplished and is ready for operation, which is running from Egypt to the borders with Sudan.

He touched upon a security challenge facing Africa with the presence of Daesh terrorist group in Libya, Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Qaeda in southern Algeria.

According to him, this entails further expansion of the road network.

Egypt has achieved a quantum leap where road quality and efficiency is concerned, moving up from the 115th position in 2014 to the 74th last year, said Arafat.

Egypt, assuming the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, is leading efforts to develop Africa and has the potentials to do so, the most important of which is water, the minister noted.

He pointed to a river connection project between Alexandria and Lake Victoria, which should make Egypt a gate of river transport to Central Africa through the Nile River.

The project should cost about 18 billion dollars, the minister said.

Arafat told the parliamentary committee that international finance institutions are willing to bankroll road connection projects in Africa.

Revenues from road projects are quick and guaranteed, the minister noted.

He talked about other projects to link railways with Africa at a total length of 8,715 kilometers.

The railway sector in Egypt is tangibly improving, Arafat said, pointing to projects to upgrade train crossings, as well as carriages and tractors

MENA contributed to this report

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