THE GOVERNMENTS of Senegal and Mali have called bids for a concession to operate the Dakar - Bamako line. Expressions of interest were invited by the end of April, and ’pre-selection’ documentation will be available this month. The process is being managed by a bi-national steering committee with representatives from Mali’s Ministry of Public Works & Transport, Senegal’s Ministry of Economy & Finance, the two railways and their trade unions. CPCS Transcom is assisting with the process.

Régie du Chemin de Fer de Mali and Société Nationale de Chemins de Fer du Sénégal will remain in existence to own the railway assets in the two countries. The operation of international freight and passenger services will be concessioned to a separate company, provisionally known as SETI (Société pour l’Exploitation du Trafic Ferroviaire International). This will be jointly owned by strategic foreign investors, local private investors and the two governments. The strategic investor is being offered at least a 51% stake in the company, plus a majority on the Board of Directors.

CPCS has helped to design the concession arrangement, regulatory structures and track access regime. It is also assisting with the selection of investors, preparation of bidding documents and the development of criteria to evaluate the technical and financial bids.

H Senegal’s Industry Minister Landing Savance has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pakistan’s Railways Minister Javed Ashraf, under which Pakistan will provide a 15-year credit of US$2m and technical assistance for refurbishment of rolling stock and training of SNCS staff. n