The Arab countries need a rail network of 30,000 kilometres to help promote trade across the region.

“We have identified a network on 30,000 railways of regional importance. At the start of the study only 37 per cent were existing, under construction or in implementation. There are 19,000km of missing links or sections that need upgrading,” said Marco Stegher, project manager of the Arab Railway Study, Italferr, speaking at MEED’s Mena Rail & Metro Summit in Abu Dhabi on 29 October.

There are six macro areas that have been identified to connect the region:

  • Maghreb, running along the Mediterranean coast
  • Nile, connecting Egypt
  • Turkey/Red Sea, connecting the Levant
  • Mediterranean/GCC, connecting Gulf States
  • Saudi Arabia, linking east and west coasts of the kingdom
  • Oman/Yemen/Djibouti and Somalia