From Volume 37, Issue 2 of EIR Online, Published Jan. 15, 2010
Africa News Digest

Sudan Plays Leading Role in Dakar-Port Sudan Railway Project

Jan. 3 (EIRNS)—Sudan and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have finalized their decision to start the construction of the Dakar-Port Sudan railway, which will connect West and East Africa with 10,000 km of rail, including an 8,000 km main corridor, and connections to countries through which the main corridor will not pass.

This marks a big step forward toward Lyndon LaRouche's comprehensive proposal for African infrastructure development that he has advocated for years.

The announcement came in the context of a meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey and Egypt yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the secretary general of the OIC, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, to discuss the Darfur donors' conference (under the auspices of the OIC, not the UN) to be held in March. This decision coheres with the solution for the humanitarian crisis in the manipulated Darfur conflict that LaRouche associates brought to the Khartoum conference on International Justice last April: Kick out the British Empire and bring economic development to the region.

Ihsanoglu reported that the Dakar-Port Sudan railway project is supported enthusiastically by Russia and China. He said that the OIC has accepted the working plan for the project, and will start discussing its financing with participation of the relevant nations located on the rail line, the Islamic Development Bank, based in Saudi Arabia, and the OIC.

The official headquarters of the project will be located in Sudan. In early December 2009, President Omar Hasan al-Bashir keynoted a conference of the OIC transport ministers in Khartoum, where he discussed the Dakar-Port Sudan railway, and thanked the OIC for its support of the project. The Sudanese Transport Minister, Philip Thon Leek, told the conference that the whole world will benefit from this project. Leek briefed the ministers on Sudan's plans to connect the country to its African neighbors through railways, urging the African nations to exert their utmost efforts in building railways due to the importance of railways in achieving development and stability.

In that December conference, Ihsanoglu stressed the willingness of the member states of the OIC to implement the ten-year development plans agreed on in 2005, to confront the financial crisis and the effects of globalization. He called upon the OIC leaders to rally the support for implementing and accomplishing this project.

On Dec. 10, Khartoum hosted the meeting of the expert groups of the OIC members participating in the Dakar-Port Sudan project. Mabrouk Mubarak Selim, State Minister in the Sudanese Transport Ministry, keynoted the opening session. He stated that the goal of the project is to connect the African deserts by means of the rail line, bringing the interior of Africa in contact with both the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea through 10,000 km of rail lines.

Engineer Hamza Omar al-Fadhelabi, director of Sudan's Railway Authority, said that the project will have a main corridor with an 8,000 km trunk line, 4,000 km of which is already connected but needs rehabilitation and overhaul. The other 4,000 km consists of connections extending to the capitals of some member states. Al-Fadhelabi added that there are nations that are not crossed by the main trunk line, such as Libya, Uganda, and Djibouti, which will also be connected to the project. He explained that the rail line will make it possible to pass directly from East Africa to its Western coast. He emphasized that the project represents a major transformation process for the African continent in the economic, political, and touristic spheres.

Mohammed Altayib Qasamallah, chairman of the committee in charge of the continental railway project, said the proposed strategic project is the fruit of the draft resolution presented by Sudan to the OIC, and passed at the OIC Summit in Senegal in March 2008. He noted that the railway project will encompass 13 African nations along the main trunk line, and 6 more nations on the secondary lines.

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