African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network

Summary of the African HSR

The African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN) is a flagship project spearheaded by the African Union as part of the continental Agenda 2063. The main objective is to connect Africa’s capital cities and major commercial hubs with an interoperable high-speed railway network to boost continental trade and competition.

The High-Speed Railway project was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Heads of State at the 24th AU Summit in March 2013 . The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) is the implementing agency of the continental project.

With 4 longitudinal (North-South) and 6 latitudinal (East-West) railway networks, the AIHSRN will connect the 16 landlocked countries in Africa to major seaports and neighbouring countries. It will establish interoperability of railways across different regions, hence interconnecting major commercial and economic hubs to boost economic growth and intra-African free trade.

The AIHSRN will be implemented in a phased approach; short term (2015- 2025), medium term (2025-2045), and long term (2045-2065) development plans of 50 years.


CPCS Transcom Ltd in association with Aurecon and ILF Consulting Engineers carried out the Detailed Scoping Study.

Recent Developments

Participants challenged the African Union and national leaders to fast track implementation of the high-speed railway to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

A second webinar held on Aug 26, 2020 explored financing options and advocacy issues.

Issues raised in the two webinars:
  • On railway development, African countries have spent a lot of time on planning; there’s need to move to execution stage.
  • Urgent need to launch implementation of the high-speed rail project after the design and planning issues have been sorted out.
  • Strengthen the project delivery unit of AUDA-NEPAD.
  • African leaders to fast track the ratification of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol for rolling stock acquisition.
  • Engage Africa’s private sector with moderation from multilateral financial institutions like the African Development Bank, Afrexim bank and the World Bank.
  • Create an African Railway standard; UIC offered to help develop the technical standard.
  • Resolution of interoperability issues.
  • Explore internal financing through sovereign wealth and pension funds.


Project Documents


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