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  Following economic liberalization in many African countries and major improvements to the region’s road network, most of the continent’s railways lost their economic edge. Except in South Africa, few still play an integral role in the economy, except to link mining sites to ports. Surviving passenger lines do not recover costs, and freight tariffs are constrained by road competition. With traffic declining, few railways are able to generate enough revenue to fund investments. The standard policy response has been to concession many of Africa’s railways. But while concessions have led to significant service improvements and helped to reverse the decline in traffic, they have not generated enough revenue to finance much-needed track rehabilitation.



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