The newly created IRU Permanent Delegation for Africa held a kick off Symposium on Trade and Road Transport Facilitation in Africa under the patronage of His Excellency, Mr Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Organised in partnership with the Ministry of Equipment and Transport of Morocco, the Transport Federation of the General Confederation of Employers in Morocco (FT CGEM), and the African Union for Transport and Logistics (UATL), the Symposium brought together some 200 participants from over 20 African countries, including transport ministers from nine African countries*, as well as representatives from regional and global organisations and key public administrations, such as Customs, tax and port authorities, to address the key role of goods and passenger road transport in driving economic and social development at local, national, regional and global level.
Opening the Symposium, IRU Secretary General, Martin Marmy, stressed: "Considering the questions arising from the development of inter-African trade, economic growth at local or regional level requires the efficient connection of local and regional trade to the global economy. It is therefore crucial that trade, and more particularly international road transport, are facilitated through the implementation of harmonised procedures that have been tried and tested worldwide."
Participants concluded that all public and private actors involved in the transport and logistics chain should join efforts to support economic and social development in Africa, notably by effectively implementing the key UN multilateral trade and transport facilitation instruments, such as the TIR Convention, to promote and further facilitate national and international road transport and allow it to drive progress, prosperity and ultimately peace on the African continent.
On this occasion, a Cooperation Protocol was signed between the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Morocco, the FT-CGEM and the IRU to formalise their commitment to work together to achieve this common objective.
International organizations and financial institutions, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the World Bank, the African Development Bank Organisation, the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) and the Islamic Development Bank, all expressed their strong interest in collaborating with the IRU to contribute to the economic and social development of the African continent.