BY STAFF REPORTER
Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railway chief executive Thembi Moyo was on Wednesday elected president of the Southern African Railways Association (Sara), becoming the first woman to head the association since its formation 23 years ago.
Moyo will be deputised by Namibia’s TransNamib boss Johny Smith.
In a speech read on his behalf at Sara’s first board meeting for this year in Harare, Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza emphasised the importance of the
region’s railways and their potential to improve the regional competitiveness of Sadc, given their suitability for transporting bulk products, which
characterised the region’s economies.
“The connectivity that exists among Sadc railways provides opportunities for co-operation among the operators to provide cost effective and seamless rail
transport services, as dictated by the Sadc Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology,” he said.
Matiza said the demands on the economies of the region, as developing countries, required more than ever before efficient rail transport delivery systems.
Zimbabwe, he said, upholds the railway sector as a national and regionally strategic mode of transport, especially given its geographic position and the fact
that most of the Sadc regional railway corridors pass through Zimbabwe.
“We recognise that railways have the requisite design capacity to facilitate the movement of volumes of strategic cargo being transported and traded through all ports in the Sadc region,” Matiza said.
“We also recognise that industry impacts on the wholesale and retail pricing of our commodities, prices of manufacturing, agricultural and mining inputs, as
well as on the competitiveness of our exports on the global market.”
He acknowledged that the rail industry in the region suffered from a huge backlog in maintenance and rehabilitation of infrastructure as well as construction of new strategic links, which required significant capital investment.
“The mining developments, the growing agricultural market, the increasing trade of bulk retail and commercial products, amongst other reasons, create an
increasing demand for efficient railway services,” Matiza added.